WASHINGTON (Reuters) – White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Monday she tested positive for COVID-19, while several U.S. media outlets reported that a number of other White House staff members also were confirmed to have been infected with the novel coronavirus.
McEnany, in a statement days after U.S. President Trump announced he had COVID-19 last week, said she would begin quarantining and that the White House medical unit does not list any members of the press as close contacts.
“Moreover, I definitively had no knowledge of Hope Hicks’ diagnosis prior to holding a White House press briefing on Thursday,” McEnany said, referring to Trump’s adviser whose positive test results were revealed last Thursday, hours before Trump announced he and his wife also had contracted the coronavirus.
ABC News, CNN and Bloomberg News separately reported that Chad Gilmartin, who works in the White House press office, also tested positive over the weekend for the highly contagious infectious disease. Bloomberg News also reported that White House communications aide Karoline Leavitt, as well as other mid-level staffers, had tested positive for COVID-19.
The White House Correspondents Association, in statement, offered sympathy to McEnany and said it was not aware of any additional cases among journalists after three reporters tested positive last week, although some test results were still pending.
“We strongly encourage our members to continue following CDC guidance on mask-wearing and distancing – especially when at the White House,” it wrote, referring to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
(Reporting by Lisa Lambert, Timothy Ahmann and Susan Heavey; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Bill Berkrot)