Reporter who attended White House press briefings tests positive for COVID-19

A reporter who attended press briefings at the White House this week has since tested positive for the coronavirus.

According to The Hill, the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) revealed the news Thursday.

The reporter, who was not identified by the WHCA, joins some 3.1 million Americans who have reportedly tested positive for COVID-19, according to a tracker from The New York Times. More than 133,000 have died from the disease in the U.S. since the outbreak began.

COVID-19 in the White House

According to Reuters, the WHCA said the reporter wore a mask while attending press briefings Monday and Wednesday. White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany was reportedly present at those briefings.

The individual has remained asymptomatic, The Hill reported, and was not believed to have worked elsewhere in the White House other than the briefing room this week.

“We are contacting those who the individual recalled being in closer contact,” WHCA president Jonathan Karl wrote in a memo to members, according to Deadline. “Other than the briefings, this person did not spend time working out of the White House and was only in the briefing room itself, not elsewhere in our workspace.”

Precautions taken

Following the WHCA’s announcement, the White House said it would test all who were present during the briefings attended by the infected individual, The Hill reported.

The White House has continually tested members of the daily press pool for COVID-19, and had previously instated temperature checks as the pandemic was first picking up in the U.S., The Hill noted.

Meanwhile, journalists have reportedly been encouraged to wear masks or work remotely when possible, and the capacity of the briefing room was reduced substantially in order to allow for adequate space for social distancing.

Not the first

This isn’t the first time that the WHCA has had a brush with the coronavirus. The Hill reported that there had been two suspected cases earlier in the year that were never confirmed, though Reuters said at least one of those cases was a false alarm.

Staffers on President Trump’s re-election campaign have also tested positive for the virus, according to Reuters, as has Vice President Mike Pence’s top spokeswoman, Katie Miller.

One can only hope the White House and the WHCA can keep further cases at bay.

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