A press secretary for Vice President Pence’s office has confirmed a member of his staff has tested positive for the coronavirus.
The individual did not have close contact with Pence or President Trump in the days leading up to the positive diagnosis, spokesperson Katie Miller said per the Washington Examiner.
“This evening we were notified that a member of the Office of the Vice President tested positive for the Coronavirus. Neither President Trump nor Vice President Pence had close contact with the individual. Further contact tracing is being conducted in accordance with CDC guidelines,” Miller said in a statement on Friday.
Pence’s chief of Staff Marc Short confirmed the statement, telling reporters on Saturday: “The individual test positive is doing really well. He did not have direct contact with the president or the vice president.”
“He had cold-like symptoms for about a day and a half, and had test results come back Thursday night. He was not in the office Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday,” Short added per CNN.
VP Pence's Chief of Staff Marc Short: "The individual test positive is doing really well… He did not have direct contact with the president or the vice president." pic.twitter.com/m3YTfFlNth
— The Hill (@thehill) March 21, 2020
President Trump previously shared he does not have the coronavirus, after visiting the Conservative Political Action Conference and his Mar-a-Lago estate where several people tested positive. According to the Washington Examiner, however, Pence has not yet been tested for the coronavirus.
Speaking with a group of reporters outside of the White House, Pence said: “I’m in regular consultation with the White House physician and he said I’ve not been exposed to anyone for any period of time who has the coronavirus.”
From the report:
Earlier in March, the vice president was at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where one attendee later tested positive for the virus. The man did not interact with President Trump or Pence, but was in close proximity with multiple lawmakers who self-quarantined out of precaution.
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Pence was also at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort while a Brazilian delegation was visiting. Fabio Wajngarten, a press secretary to President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, tested positive days after the Mar-a-Lago visit. While there, Wajngarten posed for a photo with Trump and Pence.
As the head of the coronavirus task force, the vice president has maintained fairly smooth relationships with the Democratic governors of states hit hard by the virus and projected an image of calm and organization in his near-daily appearances at the White House briefing room lectern to update the nation on the task force’s efforts.
Pence’s task force still faces serious obstacles. The federal government still does not have a handle on the scale of the pandemic in the US, due to early missteps and insufficient testing. Hospitals are beginning to express serious concerns about shortages of crucial medical equipment, from protective gear to ventilators.
Recent cases on Capitol Hill have added to fears of community spread of coronavirus among Washington politicians.
On Wednesday, two members of Congress, Democratic Rep. Ben McAdams of Utah and Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida, announced that they had tested positive for the virus.