The White House Correspondents’ Association said that a member of the press corps has a suspected case of the coronavirus and is advising journalists and others who were at the White House on a series of dates during the past two weeks to take precautions.
“We have been informed that one of our colleagues has a suspected case of COVID-19,” WHCA president Jonathan Karl wrote in an email to members. “The individual was at the White House on March 9, 11, 16 and 18. We encourage all journalists who were at the White House during this time period to review public health guidance, consult their medical professionals and take the appropriate next steps.”
The member who might have the virus was not identified, but Karl wrote that his group has been in contact with the individual’s news organization and the White House physician.
“As we have said since this crisis began, our priority is to ensure that we can maintain a healthy pool to provide coverage of the president,” wrote Karl, who is the chief White House correspondent for ABC News.
White House reporters work in tight quarters in the West Wing, and last week seats in the briefing room were rearranged so journalists are spaced apart amid social distancing protocols. On Monday, the WHCA announced an even stricter seating arrangement that spaces people apart even more, limiting it to a pool of just 14 reporters.
The White House also has been checking the temperature of reporters as they enter daily briefings with President Donald Trump and the coronavirus task force. The White House also has restricted access to the grounds to those who have assigned seats in the briefing room or assigned workspace.