Administration

Staffer who had contact with Biden tests positive for COVID-19

President Biden tested negative for COVID-19 on Monday after having close contact with a White House staffer who subsequently tested positive for the virus.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki disclosed the positive case in a statement Monday evening. Psaki said the midlevel staff member, who was not identified, spent 30 minutes with Biden on Air Force One on Friday on a trip from South Carolina to Philadelphia.

The staffer is fully vaccinated and received his or her booster. The staffer tested negative before the trip but on Sunday began showing symptoms and tested positive for the virus on Monday, according to Psaki, who said that Biden was tested via a PCR test on Monday following the news and tested negative. Biden also received an antigen test on Sunday as part of regular testing, she said, which was also negative.

“As CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidance does not require fully vaccinated people to quarantine after an exposure, the President will continue with his daily schedule,” Psaki said.

Biden, who is 79, is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, having received the Pfizer vaccine, and received his booster shortly after federal government health officials authorized it in late September. He has kept a busy travel schedule, though the White House recently traded traditional holiday parties for holiday tours with eye an toward the more contagious omicron variant.

During a press briefing earlier Monday, Psaki said that the White House anticipated breakthrough cases in the federal government but emphasized that 99 percent of White House staff are vaccinated, in compliance with Biden’s vaccine mandate for federal workers. She also said booster doses are strongly recommended on White House grounds but not required at this point.

The White House regularly tests those who come in close contact with Biden and has managed to keep cases among high-level officials low, but some individuals in the president’s orbit have tested positive for the virus, including Psaki, who missed Biden’s second foreign trip after members of her family came down with COVID-19.

Tags COVID-19 Jen Psaki Joe Biden

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