U.S. CDC, FDA chiefs in self-quarantine following COVID-19 exposure: statement, report

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FILE PHOTO: Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Dr. Robert Redfield testifies about coronavirus preparedness and response to the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 12, 2020. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

(Reuters) – Two cabinet-level U.S. officials were in self-quarantine on Saturday after coming into contact with someone who had tested positive for COVID-19, according to a spokesman and a media report.

Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Robert Redfield “will be teleworking for the next two weeks” after a “low-risk exposure” on Wednesday to a person at the White House who has the disease, the Washington Post reported on Saturday, citing a spokesman.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn is in self-quarantine for a couple of weeks after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, an FDA spokesman told Reuters late on Friday.

Hahn immediately took a diagnostic test for the coronavirus and the results were negative, FDA spokesman Michael Felberbaum said in an emailed statement.

“As Dr. Hahn wrote in a note to staff today, he recently came into contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19. Per CDC guidelines, he is now in self-quarantine for the next two weeks,” the FDA spokesman said.

Politico reported that Hahn had come into contact with Katie Miller, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary.

Miller, the wife of one of President Donald Trump’s senior advisers, tested positive on Friday, raising alarm about the virus’ potential spread within the White House’s innermost circle.

The diagnosis of Miller, who is married to White House immigration adviser and speech writer Stephen Miller, was revealed by Trump in a meeting with Republican lawmakers on Friday. A valet for Vice President Mike Pence has also tested positive.

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru and Chris Prentice in Washington; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Dan Grebler

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