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Secretary of State Pompeo in quarantine after COVID-19 exposure

The State Department declined to say when and where Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was exposed to COVID-19. File Photo by Greg Nash/UPI
The State Department declined to say when and where Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was exposed to COVID-19. File Photo by Greg Nash/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 16 (UPI) -- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has gone into quarantine after being exposed to a person who tested positive for COVID-19, the State Department said Wednesday.

"Secretary Pompeo has been identified as having come into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID," a department spokesperson said. "The secretary has been tested and is negative.

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"In accordance with CDC guidelines, he will be in quarantine. He is being closely monitored by the department's medical team."

The department declined to elaborate on when or where he came into contact with the person. The spokesperson also declined to reveal the identity of the person who exposed Pompeo, citing privacy concerns.

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The announcement came one day after Pompeo canceled a scheduled appearance at the State Department's annual Christmas party for the U.S.-based family members of employees posted abroad.

It's unclear if the possible coronavirus exposure is what prompted Pompeo's cancelation.

The Washington Post, citing anonymous sources, said that though the department invited more than 900 people to the annual party, about 70 returned RSVPs and even fewer showed up Tuesday.

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The Trump administration has faced criticism from public health officials and Democrats for going forward with plans to hold several holiday parties despite record numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths in the United States.

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The Trump administration and White House have seen a number of COVID-19 cases in recent months, including President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, advisers Hope Hicks, Stephen Miller and Kellyanne Conway, and dozens of staffers, lawmakers and others linked to the executive branch.

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