Trump confirms White House staff member tested positive for Covid-19

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Members of the press and White House staffers are stopped for medical screening and temperature checks in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic ahead of a task force briefing at the entrance of the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on Wednesday, March 18, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Jabin Botsford | The Washington Post | Getty Images

President Donald Trump confirmed Wednesday that a White House staff member tested positive for the coronavirus.

But the unnamed person who contracted the disease did not "affect" the large, in-person gathering with a number of world leaders that took place on the White House south lawn a day earlier, Trump's spokeswoman assured.

Questions had arisen earlier in the day about another Covid-19 infection at the White House, when a journalist there reported hearing about "a couple of positives today."

At a briefing, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany declined to comment on whether any staff members had tested positive, saying, "I don't share people's personal medical information."

But Trump, speaking at a news conference in the White House briefing room Tuesday evening, was more willing to discuss what he had been told.

"I heard about it this morning at a very small level," Trump began. But moments later, he said, "Last night I heard about it for the first time, and it's a small number of cases."

He then asked McEnany, who was sitting next to the podium, what she could share.

"We're not going to confirm the identities," she said, "But it did not affect the event and press was not around" the infected person.

"And it's not anybody that was near me," Trump added.

McEnany told Trump that just one person had tested positive for the virus. "It was one person," Trump repeated, adding, "not a person that I was associated with." 

This is developing news. Please check back for updates.