Five people close to Vice President Mike Pence — including his chief of staff — have tested positive for COVID-19, according to reports.
Marc Short, Pence’s chief of staff, tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday, the VP’s office said in a statement to The New York Times.
From VP’soffice: “Today, Marc Short, Chief of Staff to the Vice President, tested positive for COVID-19, began quarantine and assisting in the contact tracing process.”
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) October 25, 2020
Short “began quarantine and is assisting in the contact tracing process,” the statement said.
Though Pence had close contact with his chief of staff in recent days, after consulting with the White House Medical Unit, he “will maintain his schedule in accordance with the CDC guidelines for essential personnel,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, Pence’s senior political adviser, Marty Obst, tested positive for the virus on Wednesday, Bloomberg reported.
Obst, who is not a government employee, was last around the vice president about a week ago, though not in close proximity.
It wasn’t immediately clear if Obst had developed symptoms of the virus. He declined to comment to Bloomberg.
Three additional Pence staff members have also tested positive, the New York Times reported, citing a source who was briefed on the developments.
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows sought to keep the veep-office outbreak from becoming public, the New York Times reported, citing two people briefed on the matter.
President Trump learned about Short’s infection while returning to the White House Saturday night after a day of campaign rallies.
“I did hear about it just now,” Trump told a pool reporter. “I think he’s quarantining. I did hear about that. He’s going to be fine. But he’s quarantining.”
Short and Obst aren’t the first in the veep’s orbit to catch the bug.
A spokeswoman for Pence, Katie Miller, tested positive for COVID-19 in May and later recovered.
Her husband, Stephen Miller, who is President Trump’s chief speech writer and domestic policy adviser, tested positive earlier this month.
The virus has spread through the White House since at least September, infecting the president, the first lady and several top aides.
Pence — who was in Tallahassee, Fla., on Saturday night for a campaign event — has so far dodged the illness.
“Vice President Pence and Mrs. Pence both tested negative for COVID-19 today, and remain in good health,” a veep spokesman said.
Pence, who leads the White House Coronavirus Task Force, will continue campaigning, the spokesman said.