Member of White House press corps tests positive for COVID-19

A member of the White House press corps has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) said Thursday.

The individual, who is asymptomatic, attended briefings at the White House on Monday and Wednesday of this week and wore a mask while in the White House complex, the association said in an email. The person only worked out of the briefing room this week. 

The White House said it would test those present in briefings, according to the WHCA.  

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The case marks the first known coronavirus case among the White House press corps. The WHCA had previously alerted reporters to two suspected cases, but those were never confirmed.

The WHCA has encouraged White House reporters to work remotely as much as possible, observe social distancing and wear masks when working out of the White House. The capacity of the White House briefing room has been reduced since March so reporters can distance themselves when attending briefings.

Thursday’s announcement of the positive case came as White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany was briefing reporters.

The White House has been testing members of the daily press pool for COVID-19 out of an abundance of caution. Those include reporters who cover the president’s public movements and events. It was not clear whether the individual who tested positive received the test at the White House on Thursday.

The White House had been conducting temperature checks for those entering the complex but discontinued that practice last month, citing “phase two” reopening guidelines for Washington, D.C. Broadly, the D.C. metro region has seen cases decline considerably since the height of the pandemic, though the district reported a spike in cases Wednesday with 73 new infections, the largest single-day total in nearly a month.