Two more White House residence staff have tested positive for the coronavirus

WASHINGTON — Two more White House residence staff tested positive for Covid-19 nearly three weeks ago, a White House official confirmed to NBC News on Friday.

That brings the number of residence staff who have tested positive for the coronavirus in recent weeks to four, including three members of the housekeeping staff who work on the third floor of the residence and an assistant to the chief usher.

None of the four came into contact with the first family, the official said, and all of them wore masks.

The news, first reported by The New York Times, comes a week after President Donald Trump was checked into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after testing positive for Covid-19.

Trump returned to the White House on Monday evening and is receiving treatment for the disease amid concerns that he remains contagious and could infect people inside the White House complex.

On Wednesday, the president returned to the Oval Office and released a video declaring himself essentially “cured” of Covid-19. Trump’s doctors, however, have been guarded about the details of his medical condition; White House physician Dr. Sean Conley said earlier this week that they wouldn’t know whether he was out of the woods until after this weekend.

The White House has been hit hard by the virus, with top aides Hope Hicks and Stephen Miller testing positive for the coronavirus as well as press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, numerous members of the press office and White House staff.

More than a dozen people who have been around Trump in recent days have tested positive for Covid-19, many of whom attended the White House ceremony for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on Sept. 26.

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White House releases new coronavirus precautions for residence staff amid President Trump’s diagnosis

The White House on Tuesday released updated safety precautions for staff at the executive residence after President Trump’s announcement last week that he had tested positive for COVID-19.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Fox News medical contributor Dr. Marty Makary grades the president's recovery on 'Bill Hemmer Reports'

Fox News medical contributor Dr. Marty Makary grades the president’s recovery on ‘Bill Hemmer Reports’

In a press release, the White House said it has hired independent health consultants who are available to check on staff and their families, while “facilitating ancillary testing as needed.”

The White House also said it has hired a “well-being” consultant for staff members to speak to regarding mental health concerns.”

“The health and safety of the residence staff is of the utmost importance to the First Family,” the White House said.

Staff are wearing personal protective equipment, and are taking all necessary precautions, including updated procedures to protect against cross-contamination.


President Trump announced early Friday that he and first lady Melania Trump were in quarantine at the White House after each tested positive for the coronavirus. The couple had undergone testing after learning that senior White House adviser Hope Hicks had tested positive for the virus. Hicks had recently accompanied the president on several trips, including Cleveland for the first debate against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

After being treated for three days at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, President Trump returned to the White House Monday night. He tweeted Tuesday morning that he is planning to attend next week’s debate with Biden in Miami.

The president’s diagnosis has fueled speculation over the White House’s policy with keeping its staff safe during the pandemic.

The White House maintains that since March, it has adopted hospital-grade disinfection policies, had medical teams lead coronavirus workshops, significantly reduced staff, and encourage maximum teleworking.


In March, the White House provided sanitization and filtration systems to every employee for use in their homes to protect them and their family members. And since April, all staff members have been required to wear masks at all times, the White House said.

White House releases new coronavirus precautions for residence staff amid President Trump’s diagnosis



The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Concern rises for White House residence staff as their workplace emerges as a virus hot spot

His uncle, John Johnson, was also a butler, and the flouting of safety protocols that has made the White House a coronavirus hot spot has also put the career civil servants who work where President Trump and first lady Melania Trump live at risk of exposure. It has Allen puzzled and incensed.

“I would be begging my dad and uncle, ‘You need to get the hell up out of there,’ ” he says. “It’s like, ‘Get out! Get out!’ ”

The White House residence staff members are largely Black and Latino, and often elderly, according to Kate Anderson Brower, who compiled a trove of interviews with former staffers for her book, “The Residence.” Numbering 90-some full-time ushers, butlers, housekeepers, valets, florists, engineers and cooks charged with maintaining the historical house and creating a comfortable home free from prying eyes, they work more closely with the first family than perhaps anyone else in that building. These employees often keep their positions for decades and work for administration after administration, viewing their job as holding up the integrity of the White House regardless of who is in office.

“They’re supporting an institution, not a singular presidency,” says Anita McBride, who was Laura Bush’s chief of staff and is a White House historian for American University.

Discretion, too, is a key component of a residence staffer’s job. Speaking out about anything, including working conditions, can be a cause for dismissal. The New York Times reported Monday that two members of the housekeeping department who tested positive were told to use “discretion” when discussing their diagnosis.

As the residence staff has been caring for the first family, a chorus of concern has started to rise among former White House and residence staff members about whether the first family and this administration are taking care of those civil servants in return. For months, this administration has treated the White House as a bubble immune to the coronavirus, ignoring guidance from their own Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by refusing to wear masks, failing to maintain social distance and relying on rapid coronavirus tests that have been shown to miss infections. With the president, the first lady, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, top aide Hope Hicks, former counselor Kellyanne Conway and an ever-growing number of administration officials testing positive for the coronavirus, that bubble has burst. Now others are trying to give voice to those working behind the scenes in that building who cannot speak on their own behalf.

“I know that people in there are scared,” says Sam Kass, head chef for the Obamas for six years. “I know that they are concerned about their own lives and their families, and feel very torn about balancing their responsibilities to their country, as they see it, and putting themselves in harm’s way.”

On Sunday, the chorus rose on behalf of the Secret Service, a growing number of whom have been voicing, in unprecedented fashion, outrage over the president’s seeming indifference to the health risks faced by

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Two staffers of White House residence tested positive for COVID-19 weeks ago: report

Two members of the White House residence staff who do not come into direct contact with the president or first lady tested positive for the coronavirus about three weeks ago, The New York Times reported Sunday. 

The Times report about the positive tests among the residence staffers, which cited unnamed sources, comes after both President TrumpDonald John TrumpJaime Harrison debates Graham behind plexiglass shield Doctors, White House staff offer conflicting messages on president’s health Trump given second dose of Remdesivir ‘without complication’, ‘not yet out of the woods’, Conley says MORE and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpJaime Harrison debates Graham behind plexiglass shield Doctors, White House staff offer conflicting messages on president’s health Trump given second dose of Remdesivir ‘without complication’, ‘not yet out of the woods’, Conley says MORE have tested positive for the virus. 

Trump said Friday he and his wife tested positive for the virus, but the Times notes that the positive cases among residence staffers raises questions about how and when the president may have been exposed to the virus. 

Asked about the Times’ report over the positive cases among the two residence staffers, White House spokesperson Judd Deere said the White House “does not comment on the personal health information of individual staffers but does take any positive case seriously and has extensive plans and procedures in place to prevent further spread.” 

“A full and complete contact trace consistent with CDC guidelines is included in that and appropriate notifications and recommendations are made,” Deere added in a statement. 

Trump said Friday he tested positive for the coronavirus. He was taken to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center later that day for treatment. 

A number of Republicans within Trump’s orbit have also announced testing positive for the virus after Trump.

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