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story.lead_photo.caption FILE - In this Oct. 2, 2020 file photo, President Donald Trump arrives at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, in Bethesda, Md., on Marine One helicopter after he tested positive for COVID-19. Records obtained by a government watchdog show that roughly 900 U.S. Secret Service employees tested positive for the coronavirus. The group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington says that 881 people on the Secret Service payroll were diagnosed with COVID-19 between March 1, 2020 and March 9, 2021. That's based on Secret Service records received through a Freedom of Information Act request. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Roughly 900 U.S. Secret Service employees tested positive for the coronavirus, according to government records obtained by a government watchdog group.

Secret Service records show 881 people on the agency payroll were diagnosed with COVID-19 between March 1, 2020 and March 9, 2021, according to documents obtained by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. More than 11 percent of Secret Service employees were infected.

Secret Service spokesperson Justine Whelan said COVID testing of employees was pro-active with more than 25,000 tests being administered.

“The Secret Service’s essential law enforcement mission required agency employees to remain in continuous contact with the public during the pandemic,” Whelan said. “Now and throughout the pandemic, the Secret Service was fully prepared and staffed to successfully meet these challenges.”

The records received through a Freedom of Information Act request did not include the names or assignments of those who tested positive. But more than half — 477 — worked in the special agent division, which is responsible for protecting the president and vice president, as well as the families of these leaders and other government officials.

CREW noted the Trump administration took actions that risked exposure to Secret Service workers, but it could not verify a direct connection to possible infections because the identities of those infected remains private.

After President Donald Trump contracted COVID-19, he took a drive in his presidential vehicle as Secret Service personnel drove and protected him. The former president also held multiple large rallies and events, including the announcement of Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court, despite restrictions on public gatherings.

The Secret Service employs approximately 3,200 special agents, 1,300 Uniformed Division officers, and more than 2,000 other technical, professional and administrative support personnel.

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