White House Has Its First Positive Coronavirus Test

Official who works for VP Pence has fallen ill
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 21, 2020 6:00 AM CDT
Positive Virus Test for Mike Pence Staffer
Vice President Mike Pence, center, speaks as President Trump and White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx, right, listen during a press briefing with the coronavirus task force at the White House on Thursday.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The novel coronavirus has reached the White House. The Hill reports that, in an apparent White House first, an official who works there has contracted the virus—and that individual works for Vice President Mike Pence, who's been leading the administration's charge against the pandemic. "This evening we were notified that a member of the office of the vice president tested positive for the coronavirus," Pence press secretary Katie Miller said in a statement. "Neither President Trump nor Vice President Pence had close contact with the individual. Further contact tracing is being conducted in accordance with CDC guidelines."

Per USA Today, it wasn't clear where the infected staffer worked, or whether Pence himself had been tested after the news. Earlier in the week, the vice president said he hadn't yet been tested, noting he'd been consulting with the White House physician. "He said I've not been exposed to anyone for any period of time that had the coronavirus, and that my wife and I have no symptoms," Pence said Monday. Last week, Trump's doctor said the president was tested for the virus and that the results came back negative. (More coronavirus stories.)

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