CHARLESTON — U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, participated virtually Wednesday in a Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-H) Appropriations Subcommittee hearing to review the administration’s coronavirus response efforts. During the hearing, Senator Capito questioned Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Bob Kadlec, and HHS Assistant Secretary Admiral Brett Giroir.
Senator Capito was recently made aware that she came into contact with an individual who tested positive for coronavirus. Immediately after finding out, she contacted the U.S. Capitol Physician and was tested. The test came back negative, however, Senator Capito will be quarantining for 14 days at the advice of the Capitol Physician and CDC recommendations.
Senator Capito raised this with CDC Director Dr. Redfield during today’s hearing—specifically asking him what success the CDC’s guidelines on quarantining bring and if further testing is needed. Dr. Redfield thanked Senator Capito for setting the example and embracing the CDC guidelines. In response to Senator Capito’s question on testing, Dr. Redfield explained that the reason for quarantining is that if an individual comes into contact with someone has tested positive for the coronavirus, it could take anywhere from seven to 14 days before someone turns virus positive.
ON CDC QUARANTINE GUIDELINES: “I was made aware that I had been exposed to somebody that had tested positive for COVID. I had—according to what the physician had told me—I had been in and around that individual for at least 15 minutes around 48 to 72 hours when that individual had exhibited symptoms. Out of an abundance of caution—and exceeding to your guidelines—I went immediately to the physician at the Capitol who advised me then that I must quarantine for 14 days. I did subsequently take a test and tested negative, which I’m pleased about. But, I want to ask you—are your guidelines on quarantining—for those of us who are quarantining, following the rules—what kind of success does that bring in terms of isolating an containing the spread and do you recommend further testing as people are coming out of their quarantine and at what point would they need to get re-tested if that’s necessary?”
ON TESTING AT COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES: “Dr. Redfield brought up an issue that I know is cascading across the country, and that is as some of our colleges and universities are reopening, the incidents in testing and the incidents of positives have gone way up because of some behavioral issues and just the whole atmosphere at times in a college and university setting. So, there’s a great interest on test—to get the rapid turnaround test, The Abbot Test I know if of interest to the universities—how are you—I know you’re beginning to deploy these to nursing homes and highly challenged communities, which I applaud—but how do you deal with it in a college and university setting in terms of testing? And what do you recommend here? What do you see in the future?”
ON SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER: “I am concerned, Dr. Redfield, as we talked about before, about the rise in overdose and overdose deaths during this pandemic is extremely alarming. I am very concerned as we keep moving forward what kind of impacts this is going to have on the addiction community. You and I have talked about it. We’ve got to keep our eye on it.”