ABC News says staff that came into contact with Christie will 'self isolate for 14 days'

Posted October 3, 2020 4:22 p.m. EDT

— ABC News staffers who were in direct contact with former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will quarantine for 14 days, a spokesperson for the network said in a statement Saturday after Christie announced he had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Christie, an ABC News political analyst, was on set for ABC News' post-debate coverage Tuesday. Others on set included ABC News correspondent Linsey Davis, former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Democracy for America chief executive Yvette Simpson, and Republican strategist Sara Fagan.

"[Christie] was last in our TV3 studio on Tuesday, and he won't appear in our studio again until he's cleared by a doctor, following guidance from the CDC and local health officials," the ABC spokesperson said. "Anyone on our staff in direct contact with the Governor as defined by the CDC will self-isolate for 14 days. We wish the Governor a speedy recovery."

The ABC spokesperson declined to comment when asked whether anyone on its staff had shown symptoms of coronavirus and whether all staff had received a test by Saturday afternoon.

Christie was at last weekend's Rose Garden ceremony in which President Donald Trump announced his Supreme Court nomination. Christie was also a member of a small circle of individuals who helped prep Trump for the debate. Several individuals from both the Rose Garden event and the debate prep sessions have since tested positive for the coronavirus.

Christie's participation on ABC News' post-debate panel spurred some controversy when it was announced, given that he had helped Trump prepare for the political showdown.

Following his coronavirus diagnosis, some high-profile members of ABC News privately expressed additional anger at what had transpired, according to a person familiar with the matter.

"The decision for ABC News to include a Trump advisor as a paid analyst on air for the same debate for which he prepped the President was questionable," one high-profile ABC News on-air personality told CNN Business on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. "Now that same advisor's reckless behavior is risking the lives of ABC News employees. What was management thinking?"

In a statement sent to staffers Saturday afternoon, ABC News president James Goldston stressed that the network will continue to take precautions to reduce the risk of coronavirus.

"Your health and safety is always our top priority," Goldston wrote. "We're continuing to take precautions advised by the CDC, medical experts and the health department to prevent the spread of the virus. As you know, we are constantly cleaning and sanitizing all our offices, including frequently touched surfaces, work stations and public areas, and regular deep cleaning of the technical gear and equipment. "

"We urge you to continue to take all the proper precautions when you are in the building, including washing and sanitizing your hands frequently, wearing your mask and keeping a safe distance from your coworkers," Goldston added.

At least three journalists who cover the White House have tested positive for the coronavirus in the last week, according to memos sent by the White House Correspondents Association to its members.

Other news organizations are also taking precautionary measures to protect their staffs who may have been exposed while covering the White House over the last week.

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