Rise in White House-linked COVID-19 cases not impacting U.S. gov’t -spokeswoman

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Marine One with U.S. President Donald Trump is seen as it arrives to the White House after the president underwent a fourth day of treatment for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Washington, U.S., October 5, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The rise in COVID-19 cases at the White House is not disrupting the functioning of the U.S. government, White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said on Tuesday, as media outlets reported two more White House staffers have tested positive for the disease.

Asked if the spread of the novel coronavirus among staff in the Trump administration and Republican U.S. senators was harming the federal government’s ability to function, McEnany told Fox Business Network in an interview: “Not in the slightest.”

“We are regularly meeting,” although some staff must attend remotely, she said. “We move forward.”

Meanwhile, two more White House staffers have tested positive for COVID-19, U.S. news outlets reported on Tuesday, one day after President Donald Trump returned to the White House after being hospitalized with the highly contagious disease.

One of Trump’s valets, an active member of the U.S. military who traveled with the president last week, has the novel coronavirus, a Bloomberg News reporter said on Twitter, citing unnamed sources.

Bloomberg, CNN and NBC also reported that a military aide to Trump has COVID-19.

So far, there are at least 16 cases among White House staff and recent visitors to the complex, including McEnany. Several journalists covering the White House have also tested positive.

Several White House staffers also contracted the disease earlier this year.

Separately, the Pentagon on Tuesday said U.S. military service chiefs and other top military leaders were in quarantine after the U.S. Coast Guard said its No. 2 official tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey and Daphne Psaledakis; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Bernadette Baum)

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