U.S. Labor Secretary's wife tests positive for COVID after Rose Garden event

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Oct. 13 (UPI) -- The U.S. Labor Department announced Tuesday that the wife of Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia, Trish, has tested positive for COVID-19. Both attended the Sept. 26 Rose Garden event that has been connected with positive cases in at least 12 people.

Trish Scalia was exhibiting "mild symptoms but doing well," the statement said, adding that Eugene Scalia has tested negative for the virus.

The Scalias attended the Rose Garden ceremony to announce President Donald Trump's nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court and sat in the second row, behind first lady Melania Trump and beside former White House spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway, who have both tested positive for the coronavirus.

Eugene Scalia and his wife were honored guests at the event because the labor secretary is the son of late Supreme Court Justice Anthony Scalia, for whom judge Barrett clerked after graduating from Notre Dame University Law School.

"The Secretary and Mrs. Scalia will follow the advice of health professionals for Trish's recovery and the health of those around them. For the time being, the secretary will work from home while continuing to carry out the mission of the department and the president's agenda," the memo said.

The department did not say whether Trish Scalia had contracted the virus at the Rose Garden event, which occurred more than two weeks ago. The coronavirus can incubate for up to 14 days before symptoms appear.

A dozen members of the White House's inner circle, including the president himself and his wife, campaign aides, visitors from Notre Dame and prominent Republicans appear to have caught the infection at the ceremony, where few masks were worn. Two U.S. senators who tested positive, Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Thom Tillis, R-N.C., serve on the judiciary committee that is meeting this week to move forward on the confirmation of Barrett.

Barrett herself and her husband both tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the summer, but were no longer infectious at the ceremony, the Washington Post reported.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on Friday, characterized the Rose Garden ceremony as a "super-spreader" event and urged people to wear cloth face coverings and avoid large gatherings.

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