Dozens of Secret Service agents who worked at President Donald Trump’s rally last Saturday in Tulsa have been ordered to self-quarantine after two of them tested positive for the coronavirus.
The agents were among the six campaign staffers who tested positive for the virus in advance of Trump’s arrival in Oklahoma, according to a report by The Washington Post, citing two sources familiar with the matter.
Two more staffers who worked the rally tested positive after Trump returned to Washington on Sunday, the Post reported.
The first two agents to test positive attended a Friday afternoon planning meeting in which dozens of Secret Service staff gathered to review the logistics and their duties for the Saturday rally, the Post reported.
Though the Secret Service employees who tested positive did not work during the rally, other Secret Service staff who were at the Friday meeting with them did, including agents who work closely with the president, according to the Post.
“The entire team should have been switched out,” said one person familiar with the Friday meeting. “They were all exposed.”
All the affected agents have been told to isolate at home for 14 days.
On Tuesday, the Secret Service field office in Tulsa also tested its local agents at a hospital, but officials won’t say if any have tested positive, according to the Post.
The precaution to lock down the Washington agents comes as Trump and others in his administration have downplayed the resurgence of new cases in more than 20 states across the country. The spike in cases has been especially pronounced in the most populous states of Florida, California and Texas.
The president is also ramping up his campaign appearances. He flew to another rally Tuesday in Arizona, another of the emerging epicenters for the virus. The president planned to visit Wisconsin, too.
The Secret Service is a federal law enforcement detail charged with protecting the nation’s leaders and their families. The agency operates under the Department of Homeland Security and also regularly conducts criminal investigations.
A spokeswoman said the agency still had the ability to do its job despite the large number of officers now on the sideline.
“The U.S. Secret Service remains prepared and staffed to fulfill all of the various duties as required,” agency spokeswoman Catherine Milhoan said in a statement, according to the Post.
She declined to comment about how many agents have tested positive.
“To protect the privacy of our employees’ health information and for operational security, the Secret Service is not releasing how many of its employees have tested positive for COVID-19, nor how many of its employees were, or currently are, quarantined,” Milhoan said.
White House spokesman Judd Deere demurred when asked if the president’s rally inside a closed arena increased the exposure risks for the agency, White House staff or himself, the Post reported.
“The President takes the health and safety of everyone traveling in support of himself and all White House operations very seriously,” Deere said in a statement. “When preparing for and carrying out any travel, White House Operations collaborates with the Physician to the President and the White House Military Office, to ensure plans incorporate current CDC guidance and best practices for limiting COVID-19 exposure to the greatest extent possible.”
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