House members condemn failure to report possible Capitol COVID-19 exposure

HARRISBURG, May 27 – Democratic Leader Frank Dermody said he and other House members were absolutely shocked to learn that a colleague received a positive COVID diagnosis more than a week ago, with several other colleagues self-quarantining this week, while no notice was provided to the people working closely with them at the Capitol.


Dermody said several House members who have regularly attended session in Harrisburg throughout the pandemic were noticeably absent yesterday. Under a temporary House rule, all members may vote by proxy so that they don’t have to risk travel and gathering in person at the Capitol.


“While we are pleased to learn that this House member seems to have recovered, it is simply unacceptable that some House Republicans knew about this for more than a week and sat on that knowledge,” he said.


“Knowing how House members and staff work closely together at the Capitol, we should have been made aware of this much sooner. We should not have learned of it from a media report,” Dermody said. “In the last two weeks alone, there were six days of voting session here at the Capitol and more than 15 separate meetings of House committees voting on dozens of bills. For those members who journeyed to the Capitol in person, each of these meetings raises the risk of possible exposure.


“What makes this situation even more galling is that some House members, a vocal few, have attempted to make a virtue out of not wearing a mask when in close proximity to others. One of them testified to a full committee last week and also spoke on the House floor. This attitude shows a fundamental lack of respect for fellow lawmakers, our staff and our families back home. On their behalf, we are demanding more answers about this than we’ve received thus far.”


The House of Representatives met yesterday and today and currently is scheduled for at least one additional session this week.