Staff member of state House Speaker Emanuel ‘Chris’ Welch tests positive for COVID-19

The staff member was tested Monday as part of the Legislature’s required protocols to return to in-person work in the Capitol, a spokeswoman for Welch said in a statement. Welch was not in contact with the person.

SHARE Staff member of state House Speaker Emanuel ‘Chris’ Welch tests positive for COVID-19
State House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, waves as he gets a standing ovation after being elected to the chamber’s top leadership post in January.

State House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, waves as he gets a standing ovation after being elected to the chamber’s top leadership post in January.

Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register via AP file

A staff member of Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch tested positive for the coronavirus ahead of lawmakers’ scheduled return Tuesday to Springfield for an in-person legislative session.

The staff member was tested Monday as part of the Legislature’s required protocols to return to in-person work in the Capitol, a spokeswoman for Welch said in a statement. Welch was not in contact with the person, so he will not be required to quarantine.

“Thanks to the implementation of the U of I Shield testing, the Speaker’s Office was able to catch the positive result prior to the start of session today and it remains a requirement for all staff to be tested regularly,” Jaclyn Driscoll, a spokeswoman for Welch, said in a statement.

Those who were in contact with the staffer will quarantine, pending negative test results. she said.

The speaker’s employee is the second state staffer this week to test positive for COVID-19.

On Monday, a spokeswoman for Gov. J.B. Pritzker said a staff member in the governor’s office tested positive for the virus. That person, who was not identified, is the fourth reported member of Pritzker’s staff to have tested positive for the coronavirus since May of last year.

The staff member was not in close contact with Pritzker Monday, or in previous days, Jordan Abudayyeh, Pritzker’s spokeswoman, said in a statement.

“The Governor’s Office continues to follow COVID-19 safety protocols including testing staff multiple times per week, weekly deep cleaning procedures, mask wearing, social distancing, and limiting the number of staff reporting to the office for in person work,” Abudayyeh said in the statement.

Since Pritzker had no direct contact with the staffer, he will not be self-isolating, his office said.

Earlier this year, Welch’s chief of staff, Jessica Basham, tested positive for the coronavirus after the Illinois House conducted its session. She was the third person involved in that January legislative session to contract the virus.

Welch tested positive for COVID-19 at the end of November. He tested negative for the virus in January, but he still self-quarantined.

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