White House to enforce random coronavirus testing for presidential staffers

Though voluntary randomized testing has been going on for months, the new White House move will make participation mandatory

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President Trump on June 17, 2020
President Trump on June 17, 2020
(Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Updated: August 3, 2020 - 2:58pm

The White House starting Monday is mandating random coronavirus testing for staffers in the Executive Office of the President, according to a report from Politico. 

The new policy is part of "ongoing efforts to protect the health and safety of the entire White House Complex," according to a White House official. The official also said that randomized virus testing has been taking place for a number of months on a voluntary basis but will now become mandatory. 

Top White House officials, including the president and Vice President Pence have been tested regularly for the coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic in March. Staff who come in contact with Trump and Pence are also tested rapidly, as are journalists who are members of the White House media pool.

Last week, national security advisor Robert O'Brien became higher-ranking administration official to test positive for the novel virus, which O'Brien is believed to have contracted at a family gathering.

In May, then-Pence press secretary Katie Miller,  who is married to top presidential adviser Stephen Miller, tested positive for the virus. 

At the height of pandemic, the White House required aides to don masks inside the West Wing and enforced temperature checks for those entering the White House, but did away with both of those policies as the capital entered phase two reopening plans in June. 

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser recently issued an order mandating mask usage in most public places, in addition to requiring individuals returning from travel to high-risk locations to quarantine for 14 days on their return to the district. That rule, however, does not apply to those who traveled to high-risk cities and states for essential purposes. 

 

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