Scores of Secret Service officers assigned to protect the president and White House have been forced to isolate due to a positive COVID test or close contact with a positive coworker, according to a Nov. 13 Washington Post report.
Those officers — some 130 who work in the agency’s central security team, three people familiar with staffing told the Post — represent a realization of the fears that increasing COVID spread among White House staff, including President Donald Trump himself, would have a negative impact on the security force.
The Secret Service would not confirm the exact number of COVID-positive and quarantining employees, citing privacy and operational security concerns, but a spokesperson said in a statement to Federal Times that the agency was taking “every precaution” to ensure the safety of employees.
“The health and safety of our workforce is paramount for the Secret Service and, as such, we continuously assess the requirements necessary to operate during the pandemic and ensure we remain prepared and fully staffed to carry out our critical integrated protective and investigative missions, neither of which has been degraded by the pandemic,” the spokesperson said.
“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.”
According to the most recent personnel data released by the Office of Personnel Management, the Secret Service employs around 7,500 people. Given the Post’s estimate of 130 impacted employees, that would account for just under 2 percent of the agency’s total workforce.
But not all Secret Service employees work in the field or directly protect important government figures, as the agency is divided into special agents, uniformed division officers, technical law enforcement personnel and administrative personnel.