Coronavirus outbreak: Another White House staffer tests positive for COVID-19
Washington, May 09: The White House on Friday said that US Vice President Mike Pence's press secretary has the novel coronavirus, making her the second person who works at the White House complex known to test positive for COVID-19 this week.
President Donald Trump, who publicly identified the affected Pence aide, said he was "not worried" about the virus spreading in the White House.
Nonetheless, officials said they were stepping up safety protocols for the complex. Pence spokeswoman Katie Miller, who tested positive for COVID-19, had been in recent contact with Pence but not with the president. She is married to Stephen Miller, a top Trump adviser.
The White House had no immediate comment on whether Stephen Miller had been tested or if he was still working out of the White House. Katie Miller had tested negative on Thursday, a day before her positive result. "This is why the whole concept of tests are not necessarily great," Trump said.
The positive test for the senior Pence aide came one day after White House officials confirmed that a member of the military serving as one of Trump's valets had tested positive for COVID-19. 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, according to a senior administration official. None of those people were exhibiting symptoms, but were asked to deplane so they could be tested "out of an abundance of caution", a senior administration official told reporters traveling with Pence.
Katie Miller was not on the plane and had not been scheduled to be on the trip. Pence, who is tested on a regular basis, was tested on Friday. Miller tweeted she was "doing well" and looked forward to getting back to work.
The White House requires daily temperature checks of anyone who enters the White House complex and has encouraged social distancing among those working in the building. The administration has also directed regular deep cleaning of all work spaces. Anyone who comes in close proximity to the president and vice president is tested daily for COVID-19.