Pence to continue campaigning despite a COVID-19 outbreak that has hit at least 4 of his staff


Vice President Mike Pence will continue to campaign even after at least four of his staff members, including his chief of staff, tested positive for coronavirus. 

In an interview with CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said "essential personnel, whether it's the Vice President of the United States or anyone else, has to continue on."

When pressed about not abiding by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  guidelines, which advise those who come in contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 to quarantine for 14 days, Meadows defended the Vice President by saying he was "essential personnel."

According to the CDC, essential workers are permitted to work after exposure to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 if they abide by the guidelines including wearing a mask, social distancing, and regularly monitoring for symptoms. Meadows said Pence was wearing a mask under the doctors' advice. 

To date, four aides to Pence have tested positive for COVID-19, according to The New York Times.

Marc Short, Pence's chief of staff, and Marty Obst, a top advisor to Pence, have both tested positive for the novel coronavirus, sources reportedly told Bloomberg News.

In a statement provided to the outlet, Pence's office said the vice president has been in close contact with Short, but that he would not quarantine, per the CDC guidelines for "essential personnel."

Pence and his wife both reportedly tested negative on Saturday, according to a statement from Pence's press secretary shared by Vice News correspondant Elizabeth Landers on Twitter.

Obst, who serves as a senior political advisor to the vice president, is often in close contact with Pence.

Sources reportedly told Bloomberg that Obst received his diagnosis on Wednesday and was near Pence "about a week ago," but that they were not in close contact.

The White House has not responded to Business Insider's request for comment.

Short and Obst are just the latest people in the White House orbit to become infected with the coronavirus. Dozens of lawmakers, White House staff, and campaign officials tested positive earlier this month, including President Donald Trump, his wife, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, and Republican National Convention Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, among others.

Katie Miller, Pence's current communications director and former press secretary, previously tested positive for the coronavirus in May but has since recovered. 

Pence is currently on the campaign trail ahead of the November 3 presidential election. Hours before Obst's positive test result was reported, the vice president made appearances in Lakeland and Tallahassee, Florida on Saturday, but stayed away from others at the events, according to Bloomberg reporter Jennifer Jacobs