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Reynolds in ‘modified quarantine’ after Pence meetings

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IOWA CITY (AP) — Iowa’s governor and its medical director were in partial quarantine Monday after potential exposure to the coronavirus, even as the state made plans to lift more restrictions that were intended to slow the spread of the disease.

Gov. Kim Reynolds said she would follow a modified quarantine plan because she may have been exposed last week while visiting the White House or meeting with Vice President Mike Pence two days later in Iowa.

At least two staff members at the White House have tested positive, including a valet to President Donald Trump and Pence’s spokeswoman.

The governor said she would have most of her aides work from home, have minimal interactions with others, wear a mask at times and practice social distancing.

Dr. Caitlin Pedati, the state epidemiologist who traveled with Reynolds to the White House, said in a statement Monday she is in quarantine and working from home. She said she would follow “public health guidance” for any in-person meetings.

Reynolds and Pedati met with Pence and Trump at the White House last Wednesday to discuss Iowa’s response to the pandemic. Reynolds also accompanied Pence during his visit to Iowa on Friday, greeting him at the airport and joining him at meetings with religious leaders and food executives. Although Pence had learned that his spokeswoman was infected, he didn’t wear a mask during his visit. Neither did the governor or Iowa’s two U.S. senators, who also met with Pence.

An aide to Sen. Chuck Grassley said after consulting with Pence’s office and medical team, the 86-year-old senator opted not to self-isolate because he has tested negative for the virus and hasn’t come into contact with White House staff who have contracted the illness. Aides to Sen. Joni Ernst didn’t immediately respond to an inquiry about her plans.

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