White House starts temperature checks for those who come into contact with Trump, Pence

An aide takes the temperature of a member of the press before a coronavirus briefing with Vice President Pence at the White House on March 14. (KPRC)

(CNN) – The White House said Saturday it will start conducting temperature checks for individuals who come into close contact with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence amid the coronavirus outbreak.

"Out of an abundance of caution, temperature checks are now being performed on any individuals who are in close contact with the President and Vice President," Judd Deere, deputy press secretary, said in a statement.

On Saturday, a member of the White House physician's office, accompanied by a press aide, made the rounds, taking the temperature of members of the media ahead of Trump, Pence and the White House task force's news conference.

A journalist was denied entry into the press briefing after being told he had a fever. CNN was present for one of the temperature checks and saw the thermometer read 99.9 degrees.

"According to the White House Medical Unit, the temperature was taken three times over a 15-minute period - all three registered above the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidelines," Pence's press secretary Katie Miller tweeted.

Sick employees shouldn't return to work until their temperature has stayed below 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 degrees Celsius) for at least 24 hours, without the help of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicine, according to CDC guidelines.

Temperature checks have become more common around airports in an attempt to screen for coronavirus.

The White House doctor also took the temperature of the coronavirus task force members before their Saturday morning meeting in the Situation Room, an official told CNN.

During their news conference later Saturday, US Surgeon General Jerome Adams replied "yes," and others nodded their heads, when asked by a reporter if Cabinet members present for the meeting had their temperatures checked. Both Pence and Trump confirmed they had their temperatures checked.

The precautionary measure comes after Trump has been in recent close contact with two Brazilian officials who tested positive for the virus this week. The White House physician said in a memo late Friday that Trump has not displayed symptoms, and does not need to be tested or quarantined at this time. However, Trump said Saturday that he underwent testing for the virus on Friday, and results would come back from the lab in “a day, or two days.”