Mayorkas tests positive for COVID-19 breakthrough case

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas 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 Blinken, 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.

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 Biden 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 Morelle (D-N.Y.), Rep. Darren Soto (D-Fla.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (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 Powell 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.

Tags Alejandro Mayorkas Antony Blinken Colin Powell COVID-19 breakthrough cases Darren Soto Joe Biden Joseph Morelle Lindsey Graham

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