A staffer in Vice President Pence’s office has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, administration officials said Friday.
It is the second confirmed case of COVID-19 among a member of the vice president’s staff since March. The news also comes a day after the White House disclosed that a U.S. military official working as President Trump’s valet had also tested positive for the coronavirus.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany confirmed the case at a press briefing and said that the White House had put in place guidelines used to protect essential workers to keep those in the complex safe.
“We have put in place the guidelines that our experts have put forward to keep this building safe,” McEnany told reporters.
Pence is currently traveling to Des Moines, Iowa, to meet with faith leaders to discuss plans to reopen houses of worship, and later agricultural and food supply leaders to discuss steps being taken to secure the food supply during the pandemic.
Pence’s flight on Air Force Two was delayed roughly an hour Friday morning and some staffers deplaned before the flight took off. A senior administration official told reporters aboard the flight that the staffer who tested positive had potentially been in contact with six people scheduled to fly and that those individuals were removed from the flight.
“Nobody else was exhibiting any symptoms or having any feeling of sickness. We asked them to go get tested and to go home out of an abundance of caution,” the senior administration official said.
All six of those staffers have since tested negative for the virus.
The person who tested positive was not on the plane nor scheduled to be on the trip. The official said the individual did not have recent contact with Trump but declined to go into detail regarding the level of contact with Pence.
Asked about the development later Friday during a meeting with Republican lawmakers, Trump said a woman named Katie tested positive for the virus, adding that she was a member of the press team. Trump appeared to be referring to Pence’s press secretary, Katie Miller, who is married to Stephen Miller, one of Trump’s senior advisers.
Miller wrote on Twitter Friday night that she’s “doing well.”
“She is a wonderful young woman, Katie, she tested very good for a long period of time and then all of a sudden today she tested positive,” Trump told reporters, noting that she is “the press person.”
Trump added that Pence has since tested negative for the coronavirus.
- Pence press secretary Katie Miller tests positive for coronavirus
- Positive coronavirus cases shake White House
The White House has taken extra precautions to protect the president and vice president from contracting the disease, including regularly testing them for the virus and testing those who come in close contact with them. The White House has also instituted temperature checks for those entering the complex and regular deep cleaning of all work areas.
Trump said Thursday that he would be tested daily for COVID-19 after the valet tested positive. The president said he was not in regular contact with the person but called the situation “a little bit strange.” Both Trump and Pence tested negative after the new case was revealed.
News [email protected] THEHILL