Staffer in Gavin Newsom’s office tests positive for COVID-19

An office staff member for Gov. Gavin Newsom and another state employee who interacted with the governor’s administration personnel have both tested positive for COVID-19, though neither came in contact with Newsom or his top advisors, a spokesman for the governor said Wednesday.

“As soon as our office was informed of [the staff member’s] positive test, our Director of Operations informed all Governor’s Office staff of the case and initiated the state’s COVID-19 protocols for state agencies,” Newsom spokesman Nathan Click said in a statement. “We are working with the California Department of Public Health on contact tracing.”

Click declined to identify the employees who tested positive, or their office locations, citing privacy laws. The governor’s office was alerted about the state employee on Monday and about the governor’s office staff member “earlier this week,” Click said.

“We wish both individuals who tested positive well in their recovery,” Click said.

Newsom said Monday that he has been tested on multiple occasions when the circumstances warranted, including when he visited state prisons and when he met with President Trump in Sacramento in mid-September during a briefing on the deadly wildfires in the state.

“As relates to my health, we’ve been tested on multiple occasions, tested negative,” Newsom told reporters. “If I was tested positive, I would have the responsibility, and you would have the right to know, and that would be forthcoming.”

Newsom’s comment came days after disclosures that Trump and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for COVID-19, with the president requiring several days of hospitalization. The White House is now grappling with an outbreak of the virus among senior advisors to Trump as well as support staff and others who came in contact with those infected.

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Newsom on Monday also took a subtle jab at Trump and others for being dismissive about the use of masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“We’ll continue to maintain our vigilance. We’ll continue not to send mixed messages as it relates to importance and imperative of wearing masks or minimize the impact of this disease on people’s health, lives that are lost,” Newsom said.

Click said that the governor’s office has reduced staff levels at the Capitol, where Newsom and his senior advisors work, because of the pandemic and scrapped most in-person meetings in favor of video conference calls.

If a state employee tests positive for COVID-19 and was in an agency office, state policy requires that shared spaces be deep cleaned and that employees who had contact with that person, or the office, isolate themselves and seek testing, Click said Wednesday.

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