Secret Service officers sidelined due to coronavirus exposure


https://cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/201113131203-secret-service-white-house-august-2020-super-tease.jpg

Several dozen United States Secret Service officers have either tested positive for coronavirus or are self-isolating after close contact with someone who tested positive. Even USSS officers are unsure of the exact numbers of their colleagues because they aren’t being told an exact number by their superiors, a source familiar with the matter said.

President Donald Trump kept a robust campaign schedule in the final weeks before the campaign, holding nearly 50 campaign rallies in battleground states since he recovered from coronavirus himself in mid-October. Many of those states he traveled to are also Covid-19 hot spots, where large crowds were consistently tightly packed and few supporters wore masks.

In addition to the Secret Service officers that travel with the President to each rally, dozens are present on the ground, many arriving days in advance.

All employees who worked on the campaign trail are being tested, an official with knowledge told CNN.

“The USSS is taking all necessary precautions and putting anyone who is considered close contact in quarantine,” the official said, adding, “There has been zero impact on the mission. Staffing levels are high enough to manage.”

The White House declined to comment on the matter.

Citing privacy and operational security concerns, a USSS spokesperson told CNN that the agency will not release how many of its employees have tested positive for coronavirus or how many are, or have been, quarantined.

“The Secret Service maintains well-established protocols inclusive of testing, conducting contact tracing related to confirmed and suspected exposure, and immediately isolating of any employee who tests positive for COVID-19,” the spokesperson told CNN. “This program ensures that every precaution is taken to keep our protectees, employees, families, and the general public, safe and healthy.”

A separate Secret Service source told CNN that he has heard nothing internally about officers testing positive or self-quarantining.

“No numbers. No emails. No conversations during briefs. Nothing,” this person said.

There are approximately 7,600 USSS employees, about 1,600 of which serve as uniformed division officers.

Read more at CNN.com