White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany sought to clarify President Donald Trump’s comments refusing to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election. McEnany said Thursday he’ll “accept the will of the American people.” (Sept. 24)
WASHINGTON – White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany disclosed that she tested positive for the coronavirus, the latest high-profile official in President Donald Trump’s immediate orbit to do so.
“After testing negative consistently, including every day since Thursday, I tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday morning while experiencing no symptoms,” McEnany posted to Twitter a day after she informally briefed reporters outside the West Wing.
“As an essential worker, I have worked diligently to provide needed information to the American People at this time,” she wrote. “With my recent positive test, I will begin the quarantine process and will continue working on behalf of the American People remotely.”
Trump announced Friday that he tested positive. Hours later, he was moved to Walter Reed Medical Center, where he continues to be evaluated. First lady Melania Trump also announced she tested positive.
Shortly after McEnany announced her positive test, sources with knowledge of the health status of White House aides said on the condition of anonymity that press office officials Karoline Leavitt and Chad Gilmartin tested positive.
McEnany was among several officials who attended a ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House late last month when Trump introduced Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court. That was a common event for many of those in the administration or Congress who tested positive.
Very few people wore masks during the event Saturday, though McEnany wore one for at least part of it.
McEnany’s last briefing at the White House was Thursday; however, she held an informal “gaggle” with reporters Sunday after appearing on Fox News. She was not wearing a mask in either instance.
McEnany said in her statement that no reporters, photographers or other members of the media had been listed as “close contacts” by the White House Medical Unit for purposes of contact tracing. McEnany took two questions at the informal briefing Sunday, which was outside.
One question involved the timeline for when people knew of positive test results at the White House.
“Yeah, I’m not going to give you a detailed readout with timestamps every time the president’s tested,” she said. “He’s tested regularly, and the first positive test he received was after his return from Bedminster (New Jersey).”
The White House Correspondents’ Association released a statement wishing McEnany a swift recovery. Three White House journalists tested positive for the virus.
“As of this moment, we are not aware of additional cases among White House journalists, though we know some are awaiting test results,” the WHCA said in the statement. “We strongly encourage our members to continue following CDC guidance on mask wearing and distancing – especially when at the White House – and urge journalists to seek testing if they were potentially exposed.”
Trump, McEnany, others test positive: A running list of those close to Trump being tested for COVID-19
McEnany refused to give an update on the number of White House staff members infected.
“No, there are privacy concerns we take very seriously safeguarding the information of the personnel here in the White House,” she said Sunday. “So that’s basically where we stand right now.”
Some public health experts have criticized the White House for putting so much weight on frequent testing. Test specificity ranges across the board – some need a few hundred virus particles to produce a positive result while others require 10,000 particles.
The White House has employed rapid coronavirus tests since March. More rapid tests using different technologies have emerged since the spring, giving the White House’s medical team a menu of options for quickly testing.
It is unclear what test was used for McEnany.
A person in the beginning stages of the disease may not have enough viral load to express a positive result but can still be infectious.
Dr. Lewis Nelson, professor and chair of emergency medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, said tests definitively tell people only that they were negative the moment they took the test. In the time it takes to receive results, that person could have been exposed.
“It’s a total slice in time that in that moment, you’re negative,” he said. “The moment your test comes back negative, you are no longer negative.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 14 days of quarantine after coming in close contact with an individual who has suspected or confirmed COVID-19, regardless of a positive or negative test result.
Contributing: Adrianna Rodriguez
Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/10/05/white-house-press-secretary-kayleigh-mcenany-tests-positive-covid/3623793001/