“He is currently asymptomatic and will continue to work on behalf of the American people while in quarantine,” Interior spokesman Nicholas Goodwin said in an email.
Bernhardt’s infection has set off a wave of tests among high-ranking department officials. He has spent the past two days in meetings with political appointees.
While most Interior employees assigned to the department’s headquarters are working remotely, a number of Trump officials continue to come in regularly.
Goodwin said the secretary is “following all CDC guidelines and consulting with medical professionals as appropriate.” He added that “Interior will continue to follow all CDC guidelines (i.e. identifying close contacts, cleaning work spaces, etc.) regarding the Secretary’s positive test result.”
The secretary also attended a portrait unveiling for former secretary Ryan Zinke last week. Others at that gathering included Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.).
Bernhardt is at least the third top official at the department to contract the virus since November. Interior’s top attorney, Daniel Jorjani, tested positive after serving as an election observer in Pennsylvania, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Aurelia Skipwith also tested positive, according to two individuals who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss medical matters. Both officials isolated at home. E&E News first reported Skipwith’s diagnosis.
Following Bernhardt’s diagnosis, employees at Interior were informed that a large holiday party that had been scheduled for Thursday has been canceled, according to two individuals who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
Josh Dawsey contributed to this report.