White House employee tests positive for coronavirus, Trump and Pence test negative
President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were tested for COVID-19 and found to be negative after a member of the U.S. military who works on the White House campus contracted the coronavirus.
The president and vice president “remain in great health,” White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said in a statement Thursday.
The White House declined to identify the service member. CNN reported that the person was a member of the U.S. Navy who served as a valet in the White House residence, suggesting possible close contact with the president or his family. Service members detailed to the White House provide a range of household functions, including food service, hospitality and medical support.
At least two people working at the White House have now tested positive for the virus, according to the administration. A member of Pence’s staff contracted the disease in March and fully recovered.
Visitors to the White House campus have undergone temperature screenings for nearly two months, and in recent weeks the White House has begun giving rapid coronavirus tests to guests and staff members coming in contact with the president and vice president. Staff members are tested roughly every week, some more frequently.
The White House is using a test that returns results in about 15 minutes and requires a basic swab of an individual’s nostrils. Trump has said he prefers the test to a more invasive version he received earlier in the coronavirus epidemic.
News of the positive test comes amid controversy over Trump’s decision not to wear a mask during a visit this week to a Honeywell International Inc. mask production plant in Arizona. Trump has defended the decision by saying Honeywell executives told him it wasn’t necessary, and pointing to the regular tests he undergoes to argue he isn’t a risk for spreading the virus.
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