Trump administration recommends large-scale testing of nursing home residents and staff

Donald Trump

FILE – In this May 5, 2020, file photo, President Donald Trump talks to the media before boarding Air Force One for a trip to Phoenix to visit a Honeywell plant that manufactures protective equipment, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. The coronavirus pandemic is complicating what has been a May reelection campaign launch for recent presidents. Trump has told reporters recently he would travel soon to Ohio, a battleground state. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

(CBS News)–The Trump administration is recommending that more than 1 million nursing home residents and staff be tested in the coming weeks, part of a push to increase testing for COVID-19 across the country. The recommendation was announced on a call late Monday morning with state governors led by Vice President Pence and other administration officials working on the response to the pandemic, according to two people familiar with the call.

The call included obvious signs of social distancing now underway at the White House, just a few days after a military valet to President Trump and Vice President Pence’s press secretary both tested positive for COVID-19.

Pence and Dr. Deborah Birx appeared during the teleconference on a split screen in separate rooms within the White House complex while other administration officials joined by telephone, according to one participant on the call.

“They are really social distancing today — most of them on a phone — Birx and Pence alone in different rooms,” said the person familiar, granted anonymity to speak frankly about the call.

“When they were setting up prior to the start they were wearing masks,” the person added. Once the call began, they took the masks off.

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