White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre tests positive for COVID-19
White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement Sunday evening that she tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the day after traveling with President Biden on his trip to Europe.
“This afternoon, after returning from the President’s trip to Europe, I took a PCR test. That test came back positive,” Jean-Pierre said.
“I last saw the President during a socially distanced meeting yesterday, and the President is not considered a close contact as defined by CDC guidance. I am sharing the news of my positive test today out of an abundance of transparency,” she said.
Jean-Pierre, who is vaccinated against COVID-19, said she has experienced mild symptoms and plans to return to work after a five-day isolation period and a negative test result.
Jean-Pierre is the latest person in Biden’s orbit to test positive for the virus.
News of her case comes less than a week after White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who is also vaccinated, announced that she had tested positive for the virus and would not travel with Biden and other White House officials to Europe.
The White House takes special precautions around Biden, such as testing aides and others who come in close contact with the president. Psaki said that she found out of her case from a test taken in preparation for the trip to Brussels and Poland last week.
Biden is tested semi-regularly for COVID-19 and tested negative last week.
It’s unclear when Psaki plans to physically return to work and whether Jean-Pierre’s test will disrupt the regular press briefings. Jean-Pierre would normally have briefed in Psaki’s absence.
Jean-Pierre twice gaggled with reporters and White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan during the Europe trip — on Wednesday and Friday.
The Biden administration has, like the rest of the country, tried to return to a more normal day-to-day life amid COVID-19 as the omicron variant has faded in recent weeks.
Executive branch employees are largely compliant with Biden’s vaccine mandate for federal workers and therefore have more protection against severe illness.
Still, recent cases among White House officials and other prominent former officials underscore the lingering threat of the virus.
Vice President Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff, also recently tested positive for the virus. Harris has since tested negative. Both are vaccinated against the virus.
Updated: 9:18 p.m.