Vice President Mike Pence has tested negative for the coronavirus after a staffer in his office had tested positive earlier in the week, a spokesperson announced on Saturday night.
As the New York Times reported, both Pence and second lady, Karen Pence, were tested for the novel coronavirus, with both tests coming back negative. Pence had revealed during a briefing earlier on Saturday that he had been tested following the positive test for an unidentified staffer in his office. Though a White House doctor advised Pence that there was no reason to believe he had been exposed, Pence was still given the test out of caution.
Pence said earlier on Saturday that the staff member had not been to the office since Monday and that the person is doing well.
The vice president has played a key role in leading the federal government’s response to the spread of the coronavirus and has regularly addressed Americans at the now-daily briefings offered by the White House. Pence said on Saturday that the federal government ordered “hundreds of millions” of N-95 masks for health care facilities, but did not say when they would be manufactured or ready to be used for health care workers.
As the New York Times report noted, the White House has had a few scares with the coronavirus. Earlier in the month, a number of Republican lawmakers decided to self-quarantine after attending the Conservative Political Action Conference with a man who later tested positive. Though the man came into close proximity with a number of top officials, he was not near President Donald Trump during his appearance at the conference.
Trump was also close to a Brazilian official who stayed at the president’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida before later testing positive. Trump himself was tested earlier in the month, with the result coming back negative.
Others close to the president have been tested, including daughter Ivanka Trump, the New York Times noted. She had met with an Australian official who tested positive, but Ivanka tested negative.
But others in Washington, D.C., have not been spared. Two members of congress tested positive for the coronavirus this week, sparking fears that it could further spread as the House and Senate meet to hammer out details of economic relief packages for Americans affected by the virus.
Both Trump and Pence fall into the high-risk category for the virus, which strikes hardest in patients over the age of 60.