Fed says Powell has been working from home, observing mask and distance protocols

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FILE PHOTO: House Financial Services Committee holds hearing on oversight of the Treasury Department's and Federal Reserve's coronavirus response on Capitol Hill in Washington

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has been working from home while also following masking and social distancing protocols when in public, and has not felt it necessary to take a coronavirus test, the Fed said Friday in response to inquiries following the news that President Donald Trump has contracted COVID-19.

A Fed spokesperson said in addition that Powell had not been in contact with anyone known to have tested positive for the virus.

Fed officials have been working remotely since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, but Powell has traveled occasionally to Capitol Hill, most recently last week, for hearings on Fed policy and the response to the health crisis.

He typically has worn a mask during those appearances, and Fed officials in general have urged people to do the same as a way to tamp the spread of the disease and allow economic activity to safely resume.

News that Trump, first lady Melania Trump, and others had been infected with the coronavirus touched off a wave of announcements from other officials about their health status.

Powell has met infrequently with Trump during his time as Fed chair, though he has been holding frequent talks during the crisis with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. A Treasury spokesperson said Friday Mnuchin had tested negative.

(Reporting by Howard Schneider; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

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