Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in quarantine after coming in contact with a person who tested positive for the coronavirus, the State Department said in a statement on Wednesday. Mr. Pompeo has so far tested negative, it said.
The statement did not identify the person who had contact with Mr. Pompeo, or when it happened, citing privacy concerns. It was not immediately clear what kind of test Mr. Pompeo had taken or when he was tested, nor whether he was showing any symptoms. Mr. Pompeo is being monitored by the State Department’s medical team, the statement said.
Tests taken too soon after exposure may return false negative results, because the virus has not yet had time to build up to detectable levels. People are thought to carry the largest quantity of virus around the time their symptoms appear, if they experience symptoms at all.
Mr. Pompeo has not traveled abroad since a 10-day trip to Europe and the Middle East last month. His last publicly reported meeting with a foreign official was in Washington last week with the Slovenian foreign minister, Anže Logar.
Even so, he has hosted hundreds of people at several State Department holiday parties in recent days. He was slated to attend one on Tuesday afternoon for family members of diplomats who are stationed abroad, but The Washington Post reported that he canceled the speech he had prepared to give to guests. It was not clear whether he appeared and did not speak, or just skipped the event entirely.
Mr. Pompeo is the latest of the Trump administration’s most senior national security officials to have contact with people who tested positive.
Last month, the Pentagon was notified that Lithuania’s defense minister had tested positive after meeting Christopher C. Miller, the acting defense secretary, and other top military officials. One of them, Anthony J. Tata, a senior Pentagon adviser who is performing the duties of undersecretary of policy, tested positive for the virus afterward.
At least 50 people with close links to the White House have contracted the virus, in addition to guests and others, and President Trump himself, who was hospitalized for a few days in early October after showing symptoms of Covid-19.