Pence and second lady Karen Pence both tested negative for the virus Saturday afternoon after a staff member of his office had tested positive.
“The test was quick, but it goes a fair amount to the sinuses and it is not comfortable,” Pence said at a White House press briefing. “That is probably a good opportunity to say again to any American looking on, if you do not have symptoms you do not need a test.”
Pence told reporters Saturday that his staffer who tested positive for coronavirus is “doing well,” had “mild” cold-like symptoms for a day-and-a-half, and has not been at the White House since Monday.
Describing the test process as “kind of a pinch,” Pence said Sunday the test “was kind of invasive, but we were grateful for the support.”
He noted that at the Walter Reed National Medical Center, where he took the test, the process is evolving. He was able to get the results for his test so quickly because the lab at Walter Reed was able to analyze it.
Pence’s description of the process comes as the US has lagged behind other advanced nations in testing for the virus. Former government officials and public health experts have pointed to a series of policy and procedural decisions that they say hindered the nation’s response to the pandemic.
There are at least 32,149 cases of the disease in the country, according to CNN Health’s tally of American cases that are detected and tested in the United States through US public health systems. At least 400 people have died.
As a result, President Donald Trump said earlier in the press conference that the federal government has activated US National Guard units for three of the states hardest hit by the novel coronavirus — New York, California and Washington state.
“And through (Federal Emergency Management Agency), the federal government will be funding 100% of the cost of deploying national guard units to carry out approved missions to stop the virus while those governors remain in command,” the President said at a White House briefing.