Vice President Mike Pence was putting "a little distance" between himself and others this weekend after a staffer tested positive for COVID-19, a senior administration official told NBC News.
That official said Pence would take the advice of the White House medical unit and continues to test negative for the virus. The vice president chose not to attend a national security meeting on Saturday, the official said, adding that there is "no restriction" on his activities.
Pence distanced himself from others "out of caution," the official said.
"At this point, for a day or two, give a little distance," the official said of Pence's actions. "It doesn’t mean anything for next week" or beyond.
Devin O’Malley, a spokesperson for Pence, said that Pence "is not in quarantine" and that he plans to be at the White House on Monday.
Pence's decision to stay "a little low key" over the weekend, as the official described, came after his press secretary, Katie Miller, and one of Trump's personal valets both tested positive for COVID-19 last week. The White House has ramped up testing from once weekly to daily for administration officials, including Trump and Pence, who White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said both tested negative for the novel coronavirus on Friday.
Miller, who is married to top Trump administration official Stephen Miller, said she tested positive Friday after testing negative the day before. An administration official told NBC News Friday night that her husband tested negative for the virus. A White House official told NBC News that Miller was at the White House in the morning before testing positive, adding that she was showing “symptoms.”
Miller's diagnosis came just ahead of Pence's trip to Iowa on Friday. The vice president continued with those plans and was not seen wearing a mask, though he attempted to socially distance from others he interacted with.
Pence's distancing also comes as three members of the White House coronavirus task force are self-quarantining after the potential exposure, administration officials said Saturday. Those officials are Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Dr. Stephen Hahn, head of the Food and Drug Administration.
On Sunday, White House senior adviser Kevin Hassett said it's "scary" to go to work in the West Wing after two Trump administration staffers tested positive for COVID-19 within the past week.
"It is scary to go to work," Hassett, who formerly served as President Donald Trump's top economic adviser, told CBS's "Face the Nation." "I was not part of the White House in March. I think that I'd be a lot safer if I was sitting at home instead of going to the West Wing. But, you know, it's a time when people have to step up and serve their country."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people who recently had close contact with someone who came down with COVID-19 should stay at home for 14 days following their last exposure, should check their temperature twice daily and stay away from those who are at a high risk of getting ill.