GOP staffer came to Colorado Capitol less than week after announcing positive COVID-19 test

A Republican staffer in the Colorado House of Representatives who announced less than a week ago that she’d tested positive for COVID-19 came to the Capitol on Monday and mingled among lawmakers and others.

The staffer, Ellen Moroney, was spotted on the floor of the House on the first day of the legislature’s special session on COVID-19 relief. At least at one point, Moroney could be seen with her mask on incorrectly with her nose exposed.

On Monday afternoon, House Speaker KC Becker, D-Boulder, said that Moroney had been kicked out of the Capitol “through the special session and until she tests negative.”

Jarrett Freedman, a spokesman for the House majority, said Democrats do not plan to suspend special session work at the Capitol over this revelation.

Moroney posted on Facebook on Nov. 24, “Well it’s my birthday! I have good news and bad news. The bad news: I have covid. Happy birthday to me, right?”

It was not immediately clear when she received her COVID test results, and the House GOP’s acting spokeswoman, Deputy Chief of Staff Susan Raplee, told The Denver Post that incoming House Minority Leader Hugh McKean would likely have a statement on the matter at some point Monday.

Raplee said that Moroney is transitioning roles right now, and previously worked under outgoing Minority Leader Patrick Neville, D-Castle Rock. Raplee said Moroney would continue on in a different job with the caucus.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Becker told colleagues, “will be working on contract tracing for anyone who may have come in contact. We want to remind everyone that all staff are required to wear masks at all times and get tested before entering the building, or they are not allowed in the building.”

In her statement, Becker also said, “The minority’s dangerous disregard for simple and effective protections and this staffer’s presence on the floor has placed the health of every lawmaker and member of staff at risk.”

Moroney was far from the only Republican who didn’t follow public health guidance on Monday. Many Republicans in both chambers of the legislature could be seen maskless at various points. Though Democrats set the rules for the building, their leaders have told The Post that they’re disinclined to mandate masks — as opposed to simply encouraging them — in large part because they’re not sure how such a mandate could effectively be enforced.

Lawmakers and staff members working at the Capitol this week are being given one KN95 mask per day, and rapid COVID-19 testing is available to them on a voluntary basis. Each entrant into the Capitol must pass a temperature screening.

 

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