Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and member of the White House coronavirus task force, says he’s going into a “modified quarantine” after coming into contact with an administration staff member who contracted COVID-19, CNN reported Saturday.
Fauci told CNN that his contact with the staff member is considered “low risk,” meaning he did not come into close proximity with the infected person, who remains unnamed.
At least two members of the administration who have close contact with President Donald Trump’s inner circle have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, Katie Miller, tested positive for the virus on Friday.
Miller is married to Trump’s senior adviser Stephen Miller.
One day earlier, the White House reported that a personal military valet who comes into contact with Trump and his family had also tested positive for COVID-19.
While Fauci is only doing a “modified quarantine,” other high-level administration officials have had to go into a full quarantine.
Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, went into a two-week self-quarantine after making contact with a person who tested positive, an FDA spokesperson revealed to NPR on Saturday.
Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Robert Redfield entered a similar two-week quarantine after making contact with a “person at the White House” who contracted COVID-19.
Fauci and Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, will still appear in person before the Senate Health Committee on Tuesday, CBS News reported Sunday. Hahn and Redfield will reportedly appear remotely.
The Trump administration has been criticized for not appearing to take seriously the federal guidelines designed to prevent the spread of the virus.
In early April, Trump announced that new CDC guidelines suggest that people wear a mask when they are out in public. He also noted that the measure was “voluntary” and said he wouldn’t be wearing a mask.
Later that month, Pence didn’t wear a mask while touring the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and meeting with staff members and patients, apparently shirking the clinic’s policies requiring the protective gear.
Pence defended his decision to forgo the mask, saying that he and his regular contacts are tested regularly for COVID-19. In the aftermath of the criticism, Pence wore a mask during a tour of the General Motors plant days later.
Fauci told CNN that he would be working remotely from home and will be tested daily for the next 14 days. He also said he might work from his office at the National Institutes of Health, where he would be the only one in office, the news network reported.
Hayley Miller contributed reporting.