A member of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar's security detail has tested positive for coronavirus this week, according to sources with knowledge about the staffer's diagnosis.
HHS spokespeople said they couldn't comment directly on whether members of the secretary's detail tested positive for the virus, but said Azar and his staff have taken appropriate precautions, reports Politico. The spokespeople also said he is tested regularly before meeting with President Donald Trump.
"Secretary Azar practices social distancing guidelines as recommended by the CDC and wears a cloth face mask in any setting where social distancing isn’t possible," an Azar spokesperson commented. "Furthermore, he is tested regularly for COVID-19 before attending meetings at the White House and the results of all tests have been negative.”
Azar has undergone COVID-19 testing as a result of his agent's diagnosis, one of Politico's sources said, and HHS has taken other steps to prevent the virus's spread, including additional cleaning in the department's headquarters.
This is the first known time that a staff member with regular contact with Azar has tested positive for the disease.
Azar meets frequently with Trump, including joining with him Thursday to travel to Charlotte, North Carolina.
"The health and safety of our agents and the people they protect is of utmost importance," added Tesia Williams, a spokesperson for the inspector general, which oversees the secretary's security detail. "To that end, our agents follow the recommended guidelines to limit the transmission of the virus."
Azar told NBC's "Today" Thursday politics won't influence how fast a coronavirus vaccine is produced and distributed. He also said he will be "first in line" and will ask his family members to do the same when an "FDA [Food and Drug Administration], gold standard-authorized or approved vaccine" comes out.
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