Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro MayorkasAlejandro MayorkasHillicon Valley —TSA to strengthen rail sector cybersecurity TSA issues directives to rail sector to strengthen cybersecurity US to restart 'Remain in Mexico' program following court order MORE tested positive for a COVID-19 breakthrough case on Tuesday, according to a statement from a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spokeswoman.
Mayorkas was tested for the virus as part of routine pre-travel protocols, according to the statement from Marsha Espinosa, assistant secretary of public affairs at DHS.
He had been preparing to travel to Colombia with Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenChina eyes military base on Africa's Atlantic coast: report Biden administration prepared to use 'other tools' on Iran amid troubled nuclear talks US intelligence says Russia planning Ukraine offensive involving 175K troops: reports MORE, according to CNN, which first reported the news.
Mayorkas is experiencing mild congestion and will continue to work from home. Espinosa said the department is currently conducting contact tracing.
“Secretary Mayorkas tested positive this morning for the COVID-19 virus after taking a test as part of routine pre-travel protocols. Secretary Mayorkas is experiencing only mild congestion; he is fully vaccinated and will isolate and work at home per CDC protocols and medical advice. Contact tracing is underway,” Espinosa said in a statement.
Secretary Mayorkas tested positive this morning for COVID-19 after taking a test as part of routine pre-travel protocols. He is experiencing only mild congestion; he is fully vaccinated and will isolate and work at home per CDC protocols and medical advice.— Marsha (Catron) Espinosa (@MCatronDHS) October 19, 2021
The White House said no White House principal has been determined to be a close contact of Secretary Mayorkas. The most recent contact he had with people at the White House was at the National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service, where President BidenJoe BidenChina eyes military base on Africa's Atlantic coast: report Biden orders flags be flown at half-staff through Dec. 9 to honor Dole Biden heading to Kansas City to promote infrastructure package MORE spoke on Saturday. That even took place outside at the Capitol, and was outside of the 48-hour close contact window, the White House said.
Mayorkas’s positive test comes after State Department spokesman Ned Price announced late last month that he tested positive for a COVID-19 breakthrough case after experiencing symptoms.
A number of fully vaccinated lawmakers on Capitol Hill have also tested positive for the virus, including Rep. Joseph MorelleJoseph (Joe) MorellePennsylvania Republican becomes latest COVID-19 breakthrough case in Congress NY Democrat tests positive for COVID-19 in latest House breakthrough case House GOP campaign arm adds to target list MORE (D-N.Y.), Rep. Darren SotoDarren Michael SotoHouse GOP campaign arm expands target list after brutal night for Dems Pennsylvania Republican becomes latest COVID-19 breakthrough case in Congress Mayorkas tests positive for COVID-19 breakthrough case MORE (D-Fla.) and Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenate Democrat says he will 'settle' for less aggressive gun control reform 'because that will save lives' Graham emerges as go-to ally for Biden's judicial picks This Thanksgiving, skip the political food fights and talk UFOs instead MORE (R-S.C.).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines breakthrough cases as fully inoculated individuals who test positive for the virus.
The agency says that while breakthrough cases are expected, fully vaccinated individuals who test positive for the virus are less likely to experience serious illness than those who have not received the shot, a reflection of the effectiveness of the vaccines
According to recent data from the CDC, the chance of an unvaccinated person testing positive for COVID-19 is six times higher than a vaccinated person.
Additionally, unvaccinated individuals have an 11 times higher risk of dying from COVID-19 than people who have already received the jab.
Former Secretary of State Colin PowellColin PowellDefense & National Security — Biden marks Veterans Day Biden marks Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetery Overnight Defense & National Security — Washington gathers for Colin Powell's funeral MORE also tested positive for a COVID-19 breakthrough case, though he was immunocompromised with Parkinson’s and multiple myeloma.
Powell’s family announced on Monday that he died from COVID-19 complications.
Blinken had previously been scheduled to travel to Quito, Ecuador, and Bogotá, Colombia, this week to meet with Presidents Guillermo Lasso and Iván Duque to discuss a number of topics, according to a statement from Price.
Updated at 6:19 p.m.