Pompeo to quarantine after contact with someone COVID-19 positive
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is entering quarantine after he came into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, the State Department announced Wednesday.
A State Department spokesperson said that Pompeo has since tested negative for the coronavirus but will quarantine “in accordance with [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines.”
“He is being closely monitored by the Department’s medical team,” the spokesperson added.
It was not specified where Pompeo will be quarantining and whether he will continue to work or delegate some of his responsibilities. Pompeo was reportedly expected to meet with President-elect Biden’s nominee for secretary of State, Antony Blinken, on Thursday. A State Department spokesperson said there is no meeting planned or confirmed.
The Biden Transition team directed all inquiries to the State Department and the State Department did not immediately return a request for comment.
Pompeo had recently said he tested negative for the coronavirus in October, hours after President Trump and first lady Melania Trump announced that they had tested positive.
The State Department did not identify the person with whom Pompeo came into contact, nor the timing of the incident, but the secretary canceled an in-person speech Tuesday evening at a State Department holiday party, The Washington Post reported.
Less than 70 people attended the event, according to the Post, which was hosted for family members of diplomats serving at dangerous posts overseas.
The event was one of a number of parties Pompeo and his wife Susan Pompeo had planned to host over the holiday season and drew pushback from Democrats and the American Foreign Service Association while raising concerns among invited guests over safety risks tied to COVID-19.
Critics said the indoor gathering violated guidelines set out by the State Department, the CDC and Washington, D.C.
CNN reported that Pompeo’s office canceled two events for foreign ambassadors that were scheduled to take place on Wednesday.
Pompeo is the latest person in Trump’s orbit to come into contact with someone who had tested positive. Several administration officials have already contracted the coronavirus, including White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, top aide Stephen Miller and more.
Public health officials have urged Americans to avoid large indoor parties out of fears they could turn into superspreader events.
The nation is currently experiencing an alarming spike in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths. There were nearly 190,000 new cases Tuesday alone, and over 300,000 people have died in the U.S. thus far.
– Laura Kelly contributed to this report, which was updated at 1:53 p.m.