DC-area health officials urge COVID-19 testing for anyone at White House event

Health officials in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia are urging people connected with a recent White House Rose Garden event to contact their local health departments and get tested for COVID-19.

In a joint health advisory published Thursday, the officials said “limited contact tracing” has made it difficult to find out the full scale of the White House coronavirus outbreak. 

They urged anyone who has worked at the White House in the past two weeks, attended Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination announcement in the Rose Garden or has been in contact with anyone who did to get tested for COVID-19.

The ceremony on Sept. 26 has been referred to as a possible “super-spreader” event after President Trump and roughly two dozen people in his orbit have tested positive for the coronavirus.

But the reluctance of the Trump administration to contact trace means it’s difficult to definitively link the event to the White House’s outbreak.

Trump announced late last week that he had tested positive, and since then, three GOP senators have also been infected. Two of the three senators, Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), were at the Rose Garden event late last month.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that coronavirus patients self-isolate for at least 10 days after the onset of their symptoms, but Trump was back at work in the Oval Office on Wednesday, less than a week after his diagnosis.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) earlier this week sent a letter to the White House seeking cooperation in tracking and containing the outbreak, indicating the administration’s lax approach to COVID-19 guidelines put the city at risk.

Thursday’s notice also urged anyone who was identified as a contact to quarantine for 14 days from the date of exposure, even if they tested negative.

“If you are identified as a contact, having a negative test does not limit the time period within which you are required to quarantine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a 14-day quarantine period from date of exposure,” the officials wrote. 

They also urged everyone to follow the basic CDC guidelines that include wearing face coverings, keeping physically distant and washing your hands.

Tags Donald Trump Mike Lee Muriel Bowser Thom Tillis

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