The White House is mandating that all officials and staffers in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building agree to random coronavirus testing in the following weeks, according to two individuals familiar and a notice obtained by The Daily Beast.
This is the first time the White House has made it mandatory that all employees get tested for the coronavirus despite multiple people testing positive, according to those same individuals.
Officials working in the building, including those on the National Security Council and those working closely with the White House, told The Daily Beast medical professionals did draw their blood for antibody testing last month.
One U.S. official working in the EEOB said they were concerned about the accuracy of the rapid COVID-19 tests now being administered among staffers and officials.
The mandatory testing comes just two weeks after National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien tested positive for the virus. The White House released a statement saying O’Brien believed he had contracted the virus from a younger family member and that he would quarantine at home until further notice.
Several individuals who spoke with The Daily Beast said they were told over the last several months that only staff who worked in the White House would be tested for the virus
That policy shifted this week with an email to all employees saying it was mandatory to submit to a test, sources familiar said.
“Failure to report to testing will be considered a refusal to test,” the note said, adding that an individual could defer testing “based on a compelling need.”
Those exceptions include people who telework for more than 30 days or plan to in the next two weeks, people on approved leave or on official travel, or people who are not in the immediate vicinity of the building during testing hours, according to the notice.