Three journalists working for the White House tested positive on Friday, according to a series of memos from the White House Correspondents Association.
A White House employee sitting in the “Lower Press” area of the West Wing also received a confirmed positive result Friday morning.
Reporters and White House spokespeople work together in confined spaces, often fulfilling the definition of close contact.
So there is now widespread concern among White House reporters about who has been exposed.
The first Friday memo, obtained by CNN Business, stated that members of the press corps had been notified “so that they could make informed judgments.”
The note late in the morning stated that “all of the other journalists who were tested today were negative.”
A follow-up letter at 1:33 p.m. carrying word about another case of a sick journalist.
“We are writing to inform you that another member of our press has tested positive for COVID-19,” the memo said. “This person was last in the White House on Saturday and then flew aboard Air Force One to Pennsylvania. The individual started having symptoms of COVID-19 yesterday.”
A third note, at 3:35 PM, stated that a third member of the press corps had tested positive.
The person was at the White House last Saturday and Sunday, and “started having slight symptoms late Wednesday.”
CNN Business reached out to major news networks and newspapers to ask about the precautions they are taking.
A person familiar with the matter said at CBS News that the network is tracking contacts and tracking the company’s testing and quarantine procedures, depending on potential exposure.
A spokesperson for NBC News said, “NBC News and MSNBC are following contact tracing guidelines as stipulated by the CDC and the NBCUniversal Medical Team and some employees will self-quarantine out of caution. We will also continue to follow WHCA’s guidelines on safe work and reporting from the White House.” .
“We cannot emphasize enough the importance of wearing masks, social distancing and common sense, especially in the White House complex,” the Correspondents’ Union said.
“Additionally, we are again asking journalists who are not in the pool and have no closed workplace to refrain from working outside the White House at this time,” the council said.
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the Correspondents Association has taken a more proactive stance than the Trump administration and has encouraged journalists to take reasonable precautions while covering the administration.
Oliver Darcy of CNN Business contributed to this report.