Local health departments in Maryland, D.C., and Virginia are warning residents about the growing number of coronavirus cases tied to the White House, saying the scope of the outbreak is still unknown due to limited contact tracing.
In a joint health advisory issued Thursday, the officials urged anyone who has worked at the White House in the past two weeks, attended Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court announcement in the Rose Garden, or has been in contact with anyone who did to get tested for COVID-19. Several people who attended the Barrett event on Sept. 26 tested positive, including President Donald Trump.
“Given the growing numbers of positive COVID cases reported from staff working in and near the White House, people who attended the event hosted by the White House on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, and our preliminary understanding that there has been limited contact tracing performed to date, there may be other staff and residents at risk for exposure to COVID positive individuals,” the advisory read.
Although the White House has said contact tracing is underway, media reports indicate the administration has made little effort to investigate the extent of the Rose Garden’s outbreak.
The letter — which was signed by officers from Prince George’s, Montgomery, Frederick and Charles counties in Maryland, as well as jurisdictions in D.C. and Northern Virginia — also asked those who have been identified as a “contact” to quarantine for 14 days from their date of exposure, regardless of whether they test positive.
“We strongly encourage everyone to continue following these practices to stay well, including wearing face coverings, physically distancing at a minimum of six feet between you and others, practicing handwashing and other sanitizing practices,” the letter read.
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