President Donald Trump has tested negative for the novel coronavirus a second time, he announced Thursday.
'This morning, the President was tested again for Covid-19, utilizing a new rapid point-of-care test capability. He is healthy and without symptoms,' White House physician Sean Conley said in a memo distributed by press secretary Stephanie Grisham just before the daily White House coronatask force briefing.
The note, given to reporters moments before the President appeared for Thursday's coronavirus task force briefing, said Trump had the results 15 minutes after taking the test.
Trump said he took the new test, which provides results in 15 minutes, 'really out of curiosity to see how quickly it worked, how fast it worked.'
'I did take a test. It just came out, this is from the White House physician,' Trump said at the briefing while holding up the memo.
'I just took it this morning. And I took it, it took me literally a minute to take it and it took me -- I guess it was 14 or 15 minutes (for results). I went to work, I didn't wait for it, but it said it took 14 minutes or something with a conclusion and it said the President tested negative for Covid-19.'
News that the President has been tested twice -- he first tested negative for the virus in mid-March after coming into contact with two individuals who had tested positive -- underscores the unique challenge facing the White House as officials grapple with both how to contain the virus outbreak and take steps to avoid spreading it in the executive branch.
The White House last month said it would begin conducting temperature checks on people who come in close contact with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
'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.
Thursday's press conference comes as more than a million cases of the virus have been confirmed worldwide and states across the country continue to hand down strict measures to slow down the spread of the virus.
Throughout the outbreak, health care workers, state officials and others have criticized the pace of coronavirus testing in the US as insufficient to enable timely quarantining of patients and to obtain an accurate understanding of the virus' scope.
In response, federal health officials approved a coronavirus test last month that can provide results in less than 15 minutes, using the same technology that powers some rapid flu tests.
The new diagnostic test could accelerate testing in the US, allowing for rapid results in doctors' offices. Though shortages of critical equipment used to collect patient specimens, like masks and swabs, could blunt its impact.
'It's a lot easier. I've done them both and the second one is much more pleasant,' he said of his second test.
Still, earlier this week Trump warned of a 'painful' and 'tough' two-week stretch ahead as he extended nationwide distancing measures that -- even if followed closely -- could still mean more than 100,000 and up to 240,000 Americans die from the outbreak.
'I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead,' he said. 'We're going to go through a very tough two weeks.'
This story has been updated with additional information Thursday.