White House’s Psaki tests positive for COVID-19
White House press secretary Jen Psaki tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday, becoming the highest-ranking White House official to publicly disclose they contracted the virus.
“While I have not had close contact in person with the President or senior members of the White House staff since Wednesday — and tested negative for four days after that last contact — I am disclosing today’s positive test out of an abundance of transparency,” she said in a statement. “I last saw the President on Tuesday, when we sat outside more than six-feet apart, and wore masks.”
Psaki opted not to travel with President Biden and other staff members to Europe on Thursday after a member of her household tested positive for the virus, she said in a statement. She last held a press briefing with reporters on Wednesday at the White House.
Psaki said she is vaccinated and has mild symptoms. She will return to work after a 10-day quarantine following a negative test.
The press secretary typically interacts regularly with the president, making Psaki’s positive test particularly notable. Biden received his COVID-19 booster shot earlier this month, but at 78, he is still considered in a high-risk category should he contract the virus.
The president left for Europe on Thursday. He has since met with the pope and Group of 20 leaders in Rome. He is slated to attend the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow on Monday and Tuesday before returning to Washington, D.C.
The White House has declined to disclose breakthrough COVID-19 cases within its ranks unless the individual chooses to go public or has had direct contact with the president.
Other high-ranking administration officials to disclose positive tests include Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and State Department spokesperson Ned Price, both of whom are vaccinated.
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