First lady’s office details safety protocols for White House residence staff

The White House on Tuesday detailed measures taken to protect residence staff from the spread of the coronavirus, including the addition of health consultants, as workers face increased risk from a COVID-19 outbreak in the building.

The first lady’s office said residence staff in direct contact with the first family are tested for COVID-19 daily, and support staff are tested every other day. The White House residence has hired independent health consultants to facilitate additional testing as needed and check on staff and their families.

The residence also added a “well-being” consultant as a resource for workers looking for mental health assistance. Staffers can speak to the consultant anonymously, the first lady’s office said.

“With the recent positive results of the President and First Lady, staff wear full PPE [personal protective equipment] and continue to take all necessary precautions, which include updated procedures to protect against cross contamination,” the East Wing said in a news release.

The East Wing said Tuesday that the residence has been subject to “hospital-grade disinfection policies” since March and encouraged teleworking to the extent that it is possible.

Residence staff have been required to wear masks since April, despite the president flouting that practice himself.

The accounting of health protocols in place in the residence comes days after President TrumpDonald John TrumpState Department revokes visa of Giuliani-linked Ukrainian ally: report White House Gift Shop selling ‘Trump Defeats COVID’ commemorative coin Biden says he should not have called Trump a clown in first debate MORE and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpWhite House Gift Shop selling ‘Trump Defeats COVID’ commemorative coin Hillicon Valley: CEOs of Google, Facebook and Twitter to testify before Senate | European Union police agency warns of increase in cybercrime | Twitter to remove posts hoping for Trump’s death White House not contact tracing Rose Garden event considered possible ‘superspreader’: report MORE tested positive for the highly contagious coronavirus. Since then, the number of positive tests among those in their orbit has ballooned to include at least three press shop staffers, a military aide and two workers in the residence.

The president spent three days in the hospital getting treated for his COVID-19 infection and required supplemental oxygen on Friday and Saturday. He returned to the White House on Monday evening.

But President Trump appears unchanged by his first-hand experience with the virus, telling Americans not to be afraid of the disease and ripping off his mask upon returning to the executive mansion despite still being contagious.

The first lady, by contrast, has put out multiple PSAs urging Americans to wear masks and socially distance. She has been recovering from the virus at the residence, and has said she is doing well.

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