Katie Miller, Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary and the wife of President Trump’s senior adviser Stephen Miller, has tested positive for the coronavirus, senior administration officials confirmed Friday.
Pence, who leads the federal government’s coronavirus task force, was set to travel to Des Moines, Iowa, Friday, but his plane was delayed nearly an hour as word of Miller’s diagnosis was relayed to the vice president, Bloomberg reported.
Miller was believed to have been in contact with six other staffers who were scheduled to take the flight and who were removed from the plane at Andrews Air Force Base “out of an abundance of caution,” the vice president’s office said.
Pence had not been in recent contact with Miller, according to the vice president’s staff. Her marriage to Stephen Miller took place in February.
On Thursday, the White House reported that one of President Trump’s personal valets had also tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
In Iowa, which Pence has called a “success story” in the fight against the virus, the vice president was planning to urge the resumption of in-person church services. Pence will also meet with grocery and agricultural business leaders to talk about possible disruptions in the nation’s food supply.
As of Friday, more than 11,000 people in Iowa had tested positive for COVID-19, and 243 had died from it. A recent jump in cases in Des Moines has city leaders concerned. More than 100 people are currently hospitalized in Polk County, which includes Des Moines.
“Our community spread of the virus remains high,” Karl Keeler, president of MercyOne Central Iowa health care, told the Associated Press. “We have a lot of work to do.”
While the number of cases of COVID-19 continues to rise, especially outside the New York metropolitan area, Trump floated the idea on Tuesday of disbanding the coronavirus task force. Hours later, he reversed course, saying he “had no idea how popular the task force is until actually yesterday.”
Both Pence and Trump tested negative for the virus after learning about the positive result for the president’s valet, the White House announced. They and other White House staffers are now being tested daily.
The president has said he has no intention of wearing a mask to protect against infection by the coronavirus. Pence did not wear a mask on his recent tour of the Mayo Clinic, in defiance of the hospital rules.
“We were recently notified by the White House Medical Unit that a member of the United States Military, who works on the White House campus, has tested positive for coronavirus,” White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said in a statement Thursday. “The President and the Vice President have since tested negative for the virus and they remain in great health.”
Pence’s office said that he is tested on a daily basis and that Miller was not accompanying the vice president to Iowa.
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