“Today my family learned that my wife Jennifer has tested positive for COVID-19. Jennifer is experiencing mild symptoms, but otherwise is fine and isolating at home from the time of her first symptoms,” Azar wrote in a letter to HHS staff. , adding, “I’ve been tested, just like our kids, and luckily we’ve gotten negative results and we’re not showing any symptoms.”
“Based on the guidance of my physician and our own public health experts, including consultation with CDC Director (Robert) Redfield, I will perform the duties of my office while strictly adhering to the CDC’s Essential Employee Guidelines, while maintaining socially stand back, wear a mask, and watch for symptoms, “Azar continued.” Plus, I’ve been tested every day and will be tested every day until my exposure period ends. “
Politico previously reported on Azar’s letter to colleagues and its contents.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that close contacts of those infected with the coronavirus be quarantined for 14 days.
Azar’s exposure comes as the number of Americans hospitalized with Covid-19 hit a record high Thursday for the 12th day in a row, and more than 114,200 people were hospitalized with the disease, according to the Covid tracking project
Azar has been with several other government officials in recent days. He and Vice President Mike Pence spoke at an event at the White House on Wednesday to celebrate the government’s efforts to fight abortion. Azar was with surgeon General Jerome Adams on Monday, who was due to receive the vaccine containing Pence on Friday morning. Azar also told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Monday, the day the first coronavirus vaccines were distributed to the American public, that “I’ve seen five” people get vaccinated.
The HHS secretary is not the first administrative officer to master the virus well. On Wednesday alone, Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt tested positive for the coronavirus, and the State Department announced that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is going to be quarantined after coming into contact with someone who tested positive. Pompeo had tested negative, but follows CDC guidelines.
Many other top members of President Donald Trump’s inner circle have tested positive, including his chief of staff, campaign manager, several top campaign aides, his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, and several top White House employees. The president, the first lady and two of his sons have also tested positive in recent months.