2 Cafeterias Used By White House Staff Close After Employee Tests Positive For COVID-19

Birds fly over the Eisenhower Executive Office building next to the White House October 15, 2019, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
July 23, 2020 8:58 a.m.
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Two cafeterias used by White House staff were closed and contact tracing was conducted after an employee tested positive for the coronavirus, a Trump administration official said on Wednesday night.

The New York Times reported that the cafeterias are located in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building and the New Executive Office Building — both are part of the White House complex and are next to the West Wing.

White House staff received an email Wednesday saying there was “no reason for panic or alarm,” a CNN White House correspondent said.

It was not immediately clear whether the employee who tested positive for the virus was a cafeteria worker, and the White House did not specify what symptoms of the virus the employee had displayed, The Times said.

The White House reportedly also told employees in an email that they did not need to self-quarantine, according to the official, who spoke to The Times on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak publicly about the issue.

Staff members were advised to monitor for symptoms of the virus and were told to stay home if they felt sick, the official said.

It was not clear how long the facility will remain closed, although some staffers were told it could stay shut for two weeks, NBC News reported

The news came just hours after President Trump spoke at the White House daily briefing on the pandemic, which his administration resumed this week after a hiatus. 

After months of refusing to urge Americans to wear masks, Trump finally made the much belated call to do so this week. The President also finally acknowledged at the briefing that the pandemic was likely to get worse before it gets better.

Trump and members of his administration are regularly tested for the coronavirus. But it was not immediately clear what testing protocols were in place for employees in the executive office buildings in the complex, The Times said.

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