Psaki says WH will disclose COVID-19 positive officials who come in contact with Biden, Harris

Psaki says WH will disclose COVID-19 positive officials who come in contact with Biden, Harris
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The White House changed its policy on disclosing COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, saying it will tell the press if any officials test positive for coronavirus should they come in contact with President BidenJoe BidenFive takeaways from the Ohio special primaries FDA aims to give full approval to Pfizer vaccine by Labor Day: report Overnight Defense: Police officer killed in violence outside Pentagon | Biden officials back repeal of Iraq War authorization | NSC pushed to oversee 'Havana Syndrome' response MORE, Vice President Harris or either of their spouses. 

“Because of our commitment to transparency, what we’re going to be providing, moving forward, are updates on any White House official who tests positive for COVID-19 that the White House medical unit deemed as having had close contact with the president, vice president, first lady, or second gentleman,” White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiBiden rebukes GOP governors for barring mask mandates Florida becomes epicenter of COVID-19 surge The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by AT&T - Simone wins bronze with altered beam routine MORE said.

The policy update follows Psaki telling reporters on Tuesday that there have been multiple COVID-19 cases among White House staffers following news that a fully vaccinated White House official tested positive for COVID-19 off campus.

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White House staff was informed of the policy update Wednesday. 

“I’d also note, today an email from our COVID-19 operations protocol team has been sent to White House staff, informing them of the official policy, that if you are in close contact with the principal and test positive for COVID-19, your case will be disclosed to press along with any other relevant details,” Psaki said. 

She added that they will share the name of the official, as long as that individual agrees it can be shared.

Prior to the policy update, the White House would proactively disclose COVID-19 cases of some senior White House officials that are “commissioned officers,” which amounts to a fraction of all White House staff. 

Psaki on Wednesday said there are about 2,000 people on the White House campus everyday, so COVID-19 cases will continue to occur even among vaccinated individuals. 

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Axios first reported on Monday that a White House staffer tested positive for COVID-19. The person was not in close contact with senior officials and attended the same event last week as an aide to Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiFive takeaways from the Ohio special primaries On The Money: Biden issues targeted eviction moratorium | GOP skepticism looms over bipartisan spending deal 'The Squad' celebrates Biden eviction moratorium MORE (D-Calif.), who also tested positive. 

The press secretary was asked if the White House would have informed the public about the case if Axios hadn't learned abut it. 

“As the instance yesterday shows, cases in vaccinated individuals are typically mild or asymptomatic. This is one more reminder of the efficacy of the COVID vaccines against severe illness or hospitalization,” Psaki responded. 

“At no point has the president been required to change his behavior or self-quarantine due to close contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID,” Psaki said. 

Psaki told reporters Tuesday that those in close proximity to the president are tested more regularly than others, but all staffers are tested “either once a week or more.”