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Coronavirus cases ripple through Trump administration: How it’s affecting top officials

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As the White House pushes for a phased reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic, the virus has made its way closer to top officials. Here’s how COVID-19 has impacted Trump administration officials:

Pence staffers test positive 

Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary Katie Miller, married to top White House adviser Stephen Miller, tested positive last Friday.

A spokesperson for the vice president denied reports that Pence would be in self-isolation following his press secretary’s diagnosis.

FILE - In this Sept. 20, 2019, file photo, President Donald Trump's White House Senior Adviser Stephen Miller, left, and Katie Waldman arrive for a state dinner with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Trump at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

FILE – In this Sept. 20, 2019, file photo, President Donald Trump’s White House Senior Adviser Stephen Miller, left, and Katie Waldman arrive for a state dinner with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Trump at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

“Vice President Pence will continue to follow the advice of the White House Medical Unit and is not in quarantine,” the spokesperson, Devin O’Malley, said in a statement.

“She’s a wonderful young woman, Katie, she tested very good for a long period of time,” President Donald Trump said on Friday during a meeting with congressional Republicans at the White House. “And then all of the sudden today she tested positive. She hasn’t come into contact with me. She’s spent some time with the vice president.”

Six people who had been in contact with Miller were scheduled to fly with Pence on Friday to Des Moines, Iowa, on Air Force Two. They were removed from the flight just before it took off. All six later tested negative, the White House said.

The president and vice president, along with those in their close circle, are tested daily for coronavirus, according to administration officials.

On March 20, another staffer tested positive for coronavirus, making that the first White House staffer known to have the virus. Though White House officials were not being tested regularly at that time, Pence said he had not had recent contact with the unidentified individual.

PENCE’S PRESS SECRETARY KATIE MILLER HAS TESTED POSITIVE FOR CORONAVIRUS 

Trump valet tests positive 

Also last week a U.S. military member who works on the White House grounds as a valet for Trump tested positive for COVID-19.

A presidential valet is tasked with taking care of the president’s wardrobe, as well as performing other services. Typically, presidents have had one valet, but Trump has several.

The valet reportedly started exhibiting symptoms Wednesday before testing positive. The president said he had “very little personal contact” with the man and told reporters he would be tested daily.

Trump’s valet’s case marked the first known instance where a person who has come in close proximity to the president has tested positive since several people present at his private Florida club were diagnosed with COVID-19 in early March.

TRUMP VALET TESTS POSITIVE FOR CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus task force members self-quarantine 

President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the press briefing room at the White House, Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, in Washington as Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, Vice President Mike Pence, Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams listen. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the press briefing room at the White House, Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, in Washington as Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, Vice President Mike Pence, Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams listen. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Three members of the White House coronavirus task force — Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration — are self-quarantining this week after having contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

Fauci’s institute said he is at “relatively low risk” based on his degree of exposure and that he would be “taking appropriate precautions” to mitigate the risk to personal contacts while still carrying out his duties. While he will stay at home and telework, Fauci will go to the White House if called and take every precaution, the institute said.

The CDC said in a statement Saturday that Redfield would be teleworking for the next 2 weeks after he had a “low risk exposure” to someone who tested positive at the White House. The statement said he felt fine and has no symptoms. If he must go to the White House to fulfill any responsibilities as part of the coronavirus task force, he will follow CDC practices for critical infrastructure workers.

The FDA confirmed earlier Saturday that Hahn had come in contact with someone who tested positive and was in self-quarantine for the next two weeks. He tested negative for the virus.

All three health officials are scheduled to testify before a Senate committee on Tuesday.  Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., the chairman of the panel, said the White House will allow Redfield, Hahn and Fauci to testify by videoconference, a one-time exception to the administration’s policies on hearing testimony.

The CDC and FDA would not disclose the identity of the person who had tested positive and with whom the agency leaders had come in contact.

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According to Johns Hopkins statistics, the U.S. has counted 1,329,260 coronavirus cases and 78,795 deaths.

Fox News’ John Roberts and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Article source: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/coronavirus-trump-administration-how-its-affecting-top-officials

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