The Secret Service sustained a coronavirus outbreak at its training facility in Maryland in August, weeks before President Trump was infected, evidence of growing infections at the agency responsible for protecting the president.
At least 11 employees at the center in rural Maryland tested positive for the virus even after it was closed for several months to mitigate transmissions, according to officials briefed on the matter.
Some of the personnel are believed to have contracted the virus during training exercises or at a graduation celebration at a nearby hotel where participants did not practice social distancing, the people said.
The agency declined to discuss the specifics of the outbreak, but it said in a statement that it “has taken significant precautions at its training center to protect the health and welfare of its trainees and training staff.” There’s no indication this outbreak led to infections among the agents and officers who directly protect the president.
The details about the problem at the center were uncovered by the Project on Government Oversight, an independent watchdog group in Washington. The organization brought the information about the outbreak to The New York Times, which independently confirmed details of it with people briefed on the matter. Those people spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to be identified discussing delicate personnel matters.
The news early Friday morning that the president and the first lady had tested positive for the coronavirus gave the Secret Service outbreak new relevance. Hours before that announcement, the White House confirmed that Hope Hicks, a close adviser to Mr. Trump, had been infected.