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Pence distances self; 3 other coronavirus task force members to self-quarantine

By Allen Cone & Daniel Uria
Pence distances self; 3 other coronavirus task force members to self-quarantine
Vice President Mike Pence has been distancing himself from others since his press secretary, Katie Miller, tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, a spokesman said Sunday. Photo by Stefani Reynolds/UPI | License Photo

May 10 (UPI) -- Vice President Mike Pence stayed away from the White House this weekend as three other members of the coronavirus task force remained in self-quarantine because of possible exposure to an aide who tested positive for COVID-19, officials said.

Pence, who heads the coronovirus task force, has self-isolated himself since Friday when his press secretary, Katie Miller, confirmed that she tested positive for COVID-19 and did not attend a meeting with President Donald Trump and top military officials Saturday.

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"Vice President Pence will continue to follow the advice of the White House Medical Unit and is not in quarantine," Pence spokesman Devin O'Malley said. "Additionally, Vice President Pence has tested negative every single day."

Miller is married to top Trump adviser Stephen Miller, who has tested negative, an administration official said.

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On Saturday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said they will quarantine for 14 days.

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The day before, Food and Drug Administration commissioner Stephen Hahn, said he already had gone into quarantine.

All three of them have tested negative, along with Trump and Pence, but two people with access to the White House tested positive for coronavirus last week. Trump and Pence are being tested daily, officials said.

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Beside Miller, one of Trump's personal valets tested positive for the coronavirus. The White House said the unnamed aide, who is in the Navy, developed symptoms Tuesday and then was tested. The aide works in the West Wing, and duties involve serving meals to Trump.

Fauci, who is a public health expert on the task force, was "considered to be at relatively low risk based on the degree of his exposure" and will follow a "modified" quarantine for the next two weeks.

Though he is expected to work mostly from home, Fauci has planned to testify in person this week before the Senate, as well as Hahn and Redfield via videoconference.

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"Dr. Fauci has tested negative for CoVID-19, and he will continue to be tested regularly," a NIAID spokeswoman said. "He is actively monitoring his temperature and other health indicators."

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Extra precautions are in place in the White House.

"The president's physician and White House operations continue to work closely to ensure every precaution is taken to keep the president, first family and the entire White House complex safe and healthy at all times," White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a report by The Washington Post.

"In addition to social distancing, daily temperature checks and symptom histories, hand sanitizer, and regular deep cleaning of all work spaces, every staff member in proximity to the president and vice president is being tested daily for COVID-19, as well as any guests."

Secret Service agents who are part of the president's protective detail were wearing masks in the Cabinet Room on Saturday night, CNN reported.

At least 11 U.S. Secret Service employees were reported to be infected with the coronavirus, Yahoo News and USA Today reported. The Secret Service has 7,600 employees.

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