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White House To Give Coronavirus Test To People 'In Close Proximity' To Trump, Pence

People in "close proximity" to President Trump and Vice President Pence will be tested for the coronavirus, the White House said on Friday.
Mandel Ngan
/
AFP via Getty Images
People in "close proximity" to President Trump and Vice President Pence will be tested for the coronavirus, the White House said on Friday.

Updated at 3:48 p.m. ET

White House doctors have started giving rapid coronavirus tests to people who are "in close proximity" to President Trump or Vice President Pence.

"As the physician to the president and White House Operations continue to protect the health and safety of the president and vice president, starting today anyone who is expected to be in close proximity to either of them will be administered a COVID-19 test to evaluate for pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic carriers status to limit inadvertent transmission," White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement on Friday.

The announcement comes as the U.S. ramps up testing efforts and the White House battles criticism that widespread testing did not begin early enough. This was the president's second COVID-19 test; both were negative.

During his briefing with the coronavirus task force on Thursday, Trump indicated there wasn't a medical reason for taking the most recent test.

"I took it out of curiosity to see how quickly it worked," he said.

He took his first test last month because of exposure to someone who had tested positive.

Trump told reporters the second test, a rapid Abbott test, took only a minute and he got his results back within 15 minutes.

The CDC makes clear that testing decisions are at the discretion of state and local health departments but maintains that not everyone needs to be tested for COVID-19.

The CDC defines three priority levels for clinicians when evaluating whether to test a patient.

  • The first priority level is for hospitalized patients and health care workers displaying symptoms.
  • Priority Level 2 is for patients who are at the highest risk of complication because of infections: first responders with symptoms, and patients displaying symptoms who are either in long-term care facilities, 65 years old and above, or those with underlying health conditions.
  • Priority Level 3 includes symptomatic critical infrastructure workers, health care facility workers and people with mild symptoms in areas that have high levels of hospitalizations due to the coronavirus.
  • Right now, people without symptoms are not a priority for testing.

    Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Scott Detrow is a White House correspondent for NPR and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast.
    Barbara Sprunt is a producer on NPR's Washington desk, where she reports and produces breaking news and feature political content. She formerly produced the NPR Politics Podcast and got her start in radio at as an intern on NPR's Weekend All Things Considered and Tell Me More with Michel Martin. She is an alumnus of the Paul Miller Reporting Fellowship at the National Press Foundation. She is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., and a Pennsylvania native.