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Department Of Interior Secretary Tests Positive For COVID-19

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U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary David Bernhardt tested positive on Wednesday for COVID-19, a department spokesperson confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The secretary was tested for the virus before President Donald Trump a cabinet meeting which he did not attend, the Washington Post first reported. (RELATED: Dem Lawmaker Wants To Hold Up David Bernhardt’s Nomination On Issues Already Cleared By Ethics Officials)

“Secretary Bernhardt did test positive for COVID-19 Wednesday. He is currently asymptomatic and will continue to work on behalf of the American people while in quarantine,” Interior Department spokesman Nicholas Goodwin told the DCNF.

“The Secretary is following all CDC guidelines and consulting with medical professionals as appropriate. Interior has been on a max telework status at its headquarters in DC and nationwide. Interior will continue to follow all CDC guidelines (i.e. identifying close contacts, cleaning work spaces, etc.) regarding the Secretary’s positive test result,” Goodwin told the DCNF.

High-ranking department officials have begun getting tests following Bernhardt’s positive test, the Post reported. In the last two days, Bernhardt has had several meetings with political appointees.

A number of Trump officials usually go to the Department of the Interior’s main office and a majority of employees have been working remotely, the Post reported. Department of the Interior staff were told a big holiday party planned for Thursday was called off following Bernhardt’s diagnosis, two individuals that talked on a condition of anonymity to talk about internal considerations said, according to the Post

Bernhardt has become at least the third official in the department to be infected with the virus since last month, the Post reported. The two others went into isolation at their homes.

Daniel Jorjani, solicitor of the U.S. Department of the Interior, tested positive after performing as an election observer in Pennsylvania, the Post reported. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Aurelia Skipwith was infected with the virus in November, according to two sources familiar with Skipwith’s infection, E&E News reported.

Bernhardt went to a portrait revealing for former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke last week, the Post reported. Republican Sens. John Barrasso, of Wyoming, Steve Daines of Montana and Kevin Cramer of North Dakota were among those who attended the portrait unveiling.

Trump announced in a tweet that he nominated Bernhardt to the department’s position in February 2019. Bernhardt replaced Zinke, who left the Trump administration in 2019.

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