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Five Pence aides test positive for Covid-19

The vice president and his wife tested negative for COVID-19, a spokesman said.
Image:Marc Short, chief of staff to the Vice President, appears on \"Meet the Press\" On Feb. 23, 2020.
Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff, appears on "Meet the Press" in February.William B. Plowman / NBC News

Five of Vice President Mike Pence's aides, including his chief of staff and his senior political adviser, have tested positive for Covid-19.

Pence's office said in a statement Saturday night that chief of staff Marc Short "began quarantine" and that he was cooperating with a contact-tracing effort.

"Vice President Pence and Mrs. Pence both tested negative for COVID-19 today, and remain in good health," vice presidential spokesman Devin O'Malley said in the statement.

"While Vice President Pence is considered a close contact with Mr. Short, in consultation with the White House Medical Unit, the Vice President will maintain his schedule in accordance with the CDC guidelines for essential personnel," he said.

Pence still planned to travel to North Carolina on Sunday, his office said.

A source familiar with the matter said Pence's senior political adviser, Marty Obst, also tested positive.

Obst was at the vice presidential debate in Salt Lake City with Pence on Oct. 7, posing maskless with him and others after the event. Obst is not a government employee.

Officials close to Pence said the others who tested positive for the virus are staff members.

As a further precaution, aides said Pence canceled local news interviews scheduled this weekend on the campaign trail. They said he will not do rope-line greetings either.

On Saturday, Pence wore a mask while traveling on Air Force Two for his campaign events in Lakeland and Tallahassee, Florida, and he took it off for his remarks.

Pence said during the Tallahassee event that he would be on the floor for Monday night's Senate vote to confirm federal appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

"As vice president, I'm president of the Senate. And I'm going to be in the chair, because I wouldn't miss that vote for the world," he said. "And I'll make you a prediction: Come this Monday night, Judge Amy Coney Barrett is going to be Justice Amy Coney Barrett. We're going to fill that seat."

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Over the last several weeks, Pence has worn a face covering only on occasion, including Friday while voting early indoors.

At the beginning of October, President Donald Trump announced that he had the virus, and days later, after having been treated at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, he said he had fully recovered.