House of Representatives Protocol Called Into Question As Statehouse Staffer Tests Positive for COVID-19

House of Representatives Protocol Called Into Question As Statehouse Staffer Tests Positive for COVID-19

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COLUMBUS, Ohio —  From the Governor’s Office to the House of Representatives, this week, the second surge of coronavirus cases is hitting close to home for those in the Statehouse.

That prompted Speaker of the House Larry Householder (R-Glenford) to issue a reinstituted work-from-home policy for legislative staff, saying, “I have decided to reinstitute Ohio House of Representatives Work From Home status. This will take effect the morning of Friday, July 10. Staff should not report to the Riffe Center for work. Work Fom Home status will continue until further notice.”

But for those on the inside, including one staffer who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation, coming back to work at the Riffe Center should never have happened in the first place.

“Its anxiety-inducing coming into that building. You’re seeing individuals with different attitudes toward this pandemic, at least visually. We have people who aren’t wearing masks, people who are,” said the anonymous Statehouse staffer.

They say the attitude toward safety is laissez-faire, with faulty temperature checks and virtually no transparency.

“Indifference. Not caring about the people who work there,” said the anonymous staffer.

Spectrum News 1 reached out to the Speaker of the House’s Office, who said that the health and safety of workers is their top priority.

Meanwhile, according to Representative Jessica Miranda (D-Cincinnati) and confirmed by our Statehouse source, contact tracers mixed up two House staff members with the same name, sending one home for fear they had contracted the virus.

It turns out they sent the wrong person home, leaving the potentially-infected individual on the job surrounded by colleagues. 

“I think they’re not being transparent because they knew they messed up, and when you have that guilt in the back of your head, the instinct is to cover up instead of being transparent,” the anonymous staffer said.

House Majority Press Secretary Taylor Jach confirms the mix-up, but says, “the infected staff person misidentified the young man they had been with,” adding that the work-from-home order was out of an abundance of caution.

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