Vice President Mike Pence will be tested for the novel coronavirus.
During a White House press briefing on Saturday, Pence said he would be tested for the virus later that day. The decision was announced one day after Pence’s press secretary confirmed that a member of his staff tested positive for coronavirus.
“Now on a personal note, many of you may have been made aware that a member of my staff has tested positive for the coronavirus. We learned of that late yesterday,” Pence, 60, said of the individual, who has not been named.
“I am pleased to report that he is doing well. He had mild cold-like symptoms for about a day and a half,” Pence continued, noting that the staffer “has not been to the White House since Monday” nor did the aide have “direct contact” with either himself or President Donald Trump.
Pence, who for the past week has repeatedly maintained that as he has no symptoms or had sustained contact with any coronavirus patients he does not need to be tested, went on to explain why he had reversed his position.
“While the White House doctor has indicated that he has no reason to believe that I was exposed and no need to be tested, given the unique position I have as vice president and as leader of the White House coronavirus task force, both I and my wife will be tested for the coronavirus later this afternoon,” he said.
The announcement came about two weeks after Trump, 73, and Pence attended a diplomatic dinner at Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, in which several attendees later tested positive for the coronavirus.
Throughout this past week, Pence has been in “regular consultation with the White House physician.”
“He said I’ve not been exposed to anyone for any period of time that had the coronavirus and that my wife and I have no symptoms,” Pence told reporters at a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House on Tuesday. “But we’re checking our temperature regularly every day and we’ll continue to follow guidance.”
As for Trump, the 73-year-old said he was tested on March 13 and the results came back negative last weekend.
“Last night after an in-depth discussion with the President regarding COVID-19 testing, he elected to proceed,” a statement from White House physician Navy Cmdr. Sean Conley said, according to a memorandum obtained by PEOPLE at the time. “This evening I received confirmation that the test is negative.”
During Saturday’s press briefing, Trump revealed that he had been tested again. “I just took one, I feel great, I hope I look good,” he said.
As of March 21, there have been at least 21,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States and 267 deaths.
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.
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