A Marine assigned to the military helicopter squadron responsible for transporting the president has tested positive for Covid-19, a Marine Corps spokesperson told POLITICO.
The Marine, assigned to Marine Helicopter Squadron 1, was tested on Tuesday and received the positive result on Thursday, said spokesperson Capt. Joseph Butterfield, adding that the squadron administers 80 to 100 tests per week.
The squadron was informed of the positive test on Thursday, ahead of the president’s planned travel to Bedminster, N.J., this weekend, Butterfield said.
The squadron is sanitizing all aircraft in the squadron and beginning the process of contact tracing.
“Out of an abundance of caution, Marines who may have had contact with the infected Marine have been removed from the detachment,” Butterfield said, noting that the infected Marine was never in direct contact with the president’s helicopters, which are referred to as “Marine One” when he is aboard. “No impact is expected to the President during his trip to Bedminster, N.J.”
A White House official confirmed that the Marine “had no contact with the president or any administration personnel.”
This marks the latest instance of coronavirus hitting close to the president. This week, the cafeteria and another eatery at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building were closed after a cafeteria employee tested positive for the virus. In May, a personal valet for President Donald Trump and a senior member of Vice President Mike Pence’s staff tested positive.
More recently, the girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr., Kimberly Guilfoyle, received a positive test result for coronavirus, leading her and Don Jr. to have to leave early from Trump’s Mount Rushmore speech during the July 4 holiday weekend.
As of 2017, the presidential helicopter squadron, also called HMX-1 and based at Quantico, Va., had 23 primary aircraft, including 11 Sikorsky Sea Kings, eight White Hawks and other helicopters, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.
The Defense Department has reported 32,728 cases of Covid as of Wednesday, including 22,769 among members of the military. Overall, 51 department personnel have died, including three service members. The Marine Corps has 2,600 cases.