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Pence's 'body man' among aides who tested positive for coronavirus: report

Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceTrump set for precedent-breaking lame-duck period Trump pardons Michael Flynn O'Brien on 2024 talk: 'There's all kinds of speculation out there' MORE’s “body man” was among the aides who tested positive for COVID-19, CNN reported on Sunday.

Zach Bauer, who serves as the vice president’s “body man,” was one of the staffers who tested positive earlier this week, two sources familiar with the matter told CNN. The duties of a body man include accompanying Pence throughout the day and night and assisting him with a variety of activities. 

At least five people in Pence’s circle have tested positive for coronavirus in recent days, sources told CNN, including chief of staff Marc Short, which the vice president’s office confirmed Saturday evening, and adviser Marty Obst, who is not a government employee.

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"Today, Marc Short, Chief of Staff to the Vice President, tested positive for COVID-19, began quarantine and assisting in the contact tracing process," Pence's press secretary Devin O'Malley said in a statement Saturday. "Vice President Pence and Mrs. Pence both tested negative for COVID-19 today, and remain in good health."

"While Vice President Pence is considered a close contact with Mr. Short, in consultation with the White House Medical Unit, the Vice President will maintain his schedule in accordance with the CDC guidelines for essential personnel," O'Malley said.

Besides Short, Pence’s office has not identified the other aides who have tested positive in recent days or confirmed the total number of infected individuals in the office. The New York Times first reported the outbreak among Pence’s inner circle on Saturday. 

The vice president and second lady Karen PenceKaren Sue PenceSpaceX capsule arrives at International Space Station The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Capital One - World reacts to news of second COVID-19 vaccine with 90 percent efficacy The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by UAE - US records 1 million COVID-19 cases in a week; governors crack down MORE tested negative for COVID-19 on Sunday, a White House official said, in addition to their negative tests on Saturday after the office reported Short’s infection.

Pence’s office declined to comment on Bauer's reported positive test.  

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White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump holds his last turkey pardon ceremony Overnight Defense: Pentagon set for tighter virus restrictions as top officials tests positive | Military sees 11th COVID-19 death | House Democrats back Senate language on Confederate base names Trump administration revives talk of action on birthright citizenship MORE declined to say on CNN’s “State of the Union” how many people in Pence’s office tested positive for the virus, saying “we don’t give out that kind of information.”

Meadows said revealing that information is only appropriate in the case of President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden adds to vote margin over Trump after Milwaukee County recount Krebs says allegations of foreign interference in 2020 election 'farcical'  Republicans ready to become deficit hawks again under a President Biden MORE, Pence or those in their inner circle. 

"Anytime there's someone in harm's way, we have an obligation to let people know for contract-tracing," he said.

The vice president plans to continue with his travel schedule this week ahead of Election Day, with Meadows noting Pence will wear a mask and social distance. 

Trump administration and campaign officials defended Pence’s planned travel this week, calling him an essential worker. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends those who are considered a close contact of someone with COVID-19 to stay home for 14 days from their last contact with that individual.