Pence chief of staff, senior political adviser test positive for Covid-19

Two of Vice President Mike Pence’s closest political advisers have tested positive for Covid-19.

Pence’s office said in a statement Saturday night that his chief of staff, Marc Short, “began quarantine” after learning of the diagnosis and was cooperating with a contact-tracing effort.

“Vice President Pence and Mrs. Pence both tested negative for COVID-19 today, and remain in good health,” vice presidential spokesman Devin O’Malley said in the statement.

“While Vice President Pence is considered a close contact with Mr. Short, in consultation with the White House Medical Unit, the Vice President will maintain his schedule in accordance with the CDC guidelines for essential personnel,” he said.

Pence still plans to travel to North Carolina on Sunday, his office said.

Additionally, a source familiar with the matter told NBC News that Pence’s senior political adviser, Marty Obst, also tested positive.

Obst was at the debate in Salt Lake City with Pence Oct. 7, posing maskless with him and others after the event.

Obst is not a government employee. Pence’s office has not yet responded to requests for comment.

The vice president wore a mask Saturday while traveling on Air Force Two for his campaign events in Lakeland and Tallahassee, Florida, and he took it off for his remarks.

Pence said during the Tallahassee event that he would be on the floor for Monday night’s Senate confirmation vote for Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

“As vice president I’m President of the Senate. And I’m gonna be in the chair because I wouldn’t miss that vote for the world,” he said. “And I’ll make you a prediction, come this Monday night, Judge Amy Coney Barrett is going to be Justice Amy Coney Barrett. We’re gonna fill that seat.”

Over the last several weeks, Pence has only on occasion worn a face covering, including Friday while early voting indoors.

At the beginning of October, President Donald Trump announced he had the virus and, after being treated at Walter Reed Medical Center, said he had fully recovered days later.

Dennis Romero contributed.