- A worker in a cafeteria on the White House grounds tested positive for the coronavirus.
- Officials in the administration were informed of the positive case on Wednesday and told that the risk of transmission was low, CNN reported.
- The cafeteria where the employee worked was in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building not far from the West Wing.
- Executive aides dine there, CNN reported, but they were not told to quarantine after contact tracing was completed.
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A worker at a cafeteria on the White House grounds tested positive for the coronavirus prompting two cafeterias to be temporarily closed, CNN reported.
Officials in the administration were informed by email about the positive case on Wednesday, but were reassured that the risk of transmission was low because safety precautions were taken like wearing masks.
“There is no reason for panic or alarm,” the email read, according to CNN.
Ike’s Eatery, one of the cafeterias on the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which is across West Executive Avenue from the West Wing, was temporarily closed NBC News reported. CNN also reported that the cafeteria in the New Executive Office Building was also temporarily closed. It’s unclear how long the cafeterias will stay closed, but some staffers told NBC News that it’s likely that they’ll be closed for two weeks.
The cafeteria in the EEOB is run by a contractor. CNN reported that while there’s a cafeteria run by the US Navy in the West Wing, dozens of staffers like to go to Ike’s Eatery in EEOB.
The General Services Administration, which maintains the EEOB, did not tell NBC News how many staffers may have been exposed. CNN reported that email sent to staffers said contact tracing was conducted, and no executive office workers need to quarantine.
“The White House Medical Unit has done contact tracing and determined that the risk of retransmission is low,” a GSA spokesperson told NBC News. Business Insider could not immediately reach the GSA for comment.
Several people tied to the White House have previously tested positive for the coronavirus. In June, a White House reporter tested positive for the virus, and in May, Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary Katie Miller tested positive.
The new positive case inside the White House grounds comes as Trump rebooted the White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing with a somber tone urging people to take the virus seriously. While previously critical of mask usage, Trump has recently advised everyone to use masks, wash their hands, and take other hygiene practices to curb the spread of the virus. He’s also advised young people to avoid bars.
His remarks come as cases in the US continue to surge. The US has close to 4 million coronavirus cases with over 143,000 deaths.