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October 27, 2020

Around the nation: 5 of Pence’s aides have tested positive for the coronavirus

Daily Briefing

    A White House official said both Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence tested negative for the new coronavirus on Sunday, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, and New Jersey.

    • Arkansas: Walmart on Thursday announced it has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), claiming that DOJ and DEA are seeking to blame the company for the federal government's own regulatory and enforcement failures in the fight against the country's opioid epidemic. Walmart in the lawsuit is asking the court to declare that the federal government has no lawful basis for seeking civil damages from the company based on allegations that the company's pharmacists filled valid prescriptions that should have raised red flags. DOJ and DEA declined to comment, the Wall Street Journal reports (Kendall/Randazzo, Wall Street Journal, 10/22).

    • District of Columbia: At least five people who work closely with Vice President Pence—including Zach Bauer, one of his top aides; Marty Obst, his political adviser; and Marc Short, his chief of staff—have tested positive for the new coronavirus. Devin O’Malley, a spokesperson for Pence, said both the vice president and second lady Karen Pence tested negative for the coronavirus on Sunday. O’Malley added that while Pence “is considered a close contact with Mr. Short, in consultation with the White House Medical Unit, the vice president will maintain his schedule in accordance with the CDC guidelines for essential personnel” (Collins et al., CNN, 10/25; Haberman, New York Times, 10/24; Bender, Wall Street Journal, 10/25).

    • Minnesota: Minnesota health officials on Thursday announced a pilot program intended to expand access to coronavirus testing statewide by providing at-home saliva tests to state residents in two dozen counties and tribal nations. The program allows residents to order their saliva tests by mail and then conduct their tests at home with virtual assistance from a health care worker, according to the Associated Press. Once they've completed their tests, residents will ship them to the state's saliva lab and receive their results via email within 24-48 hours, AP reports (Associated Press, 10/22).

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