SACRAMENTO (CBS13/AP) — A member of California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office staff tested positive for COVID-19 this week and contact tracing has begun, the office said in a statement Wednesday.
The staff member had not interacted with Newsom or with staff that routinely interacts with the governor, the statement said.
Separately, a state employee who works in a space shared with some staff from the governor’s office also tested positive for COVID-19 but the person also had not interacted with the governor or his close staff, the office said.
Newsom addressed the positive tests while speaking at a signing a new executive order on Wednesday addressing climate change.
“It’s just another reminder of how easily transmitted this disease is,” Newsom said.
Newsom added that he was last tested for coronavirus before Pres. Donald Trump visited the area in September and that he has never tested positive.
“I look forward to testing again,” Newsom said.
The governor’s office said it received word of both positive tests earlier this week and COVID-19 protocols for California state agencies were implemented.
“Under privacy laws, we cannot disclose the office location where these employees worked,” the statement said.
The protocols for when a state employee was potentially positive at work include a deep cleaning of shared spaces and asking those who interacted with the person or shared workspaces to isolate and seek testing, the office said.
The governor’s office said mask-wearing is mandated in accordance with state law and health guidelines. The amount of staff physically present at work is minimized, most in-person meetings have been converted to video conference calls, and seating capacity is reduced when meetings can’t be done remotely.
Newsom said Monday that while California’s current COVID-19 case rate was stable, he warned that with case numbers rising across the country and the globe, that could change.
“You’re starting to see an increase in COVID-19 cases all across the country. In fact, as of this morning, 21 states have seen an increase in transmission rate of COVID-19,” said Newsom. “We’re seeing this, by the way, not just across the country; we’re seeing this increasingly around the world.”
“Take a look at the headlines in France out of Paris today and what’s happening in the United Kingdom; what’s been happening in Israel and what Germany is projecting and is concerned about. This is the second wave that many had predicted based on our closest approximate frame, what happened [with the Spanish flu] in 1918 and 1919.”
Newsom warned residents against letting their guard down to avoid a second wave that could be as impactful or more impactful than the initial wave of COVID-19 cases.