Biden campaign cancels Harris travel after aide tests positive for COVID-19

Two people involved in Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign, including the communications director for Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the campaign said Thursday.

Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said neither of the infected individuals were in close contact, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with Harris or Biden in the 48 hour period prior to their positive tests, so there would be no requirement for the candidates to self-quarantine.

But O’Malley Dillon said they would cancel Harris’s travel through Sunday out of an abundance of caution.

“Regardless, out of an abundance of caution and in line with our campaign’s commitment to the highest levels of precaution, we are canceling Senator Harris’s travel through Sunday, October 18th, but she will keep a robust and aggressive schedule of virtual campaign activities to reach voters all across the country during this time,” O’Malley Dillon said in a statement issued Thursday morning, noting that Harris would resume campaigning in-person on Monday.

The campaign said it first learned of the positive cases involving Harris communications director Liz Allen and a “non-staff flight crew member” late Wednesday night.

Both of the individuals were on a flight with Harris on Oct. 8 but tested negative before and after the flight. Harris has taken two Polymerase Chain Reaction coronavirus tests since then, and both were negative.

Harris last tested negative for the coronavirus on Wednesday. The campaign says she will be tested again on Thursday.

Biden will participate in a town hall event with ABC News on Thursday night at 8 p.m., and the campaign says there are no plans to alter his travel schedule.

“The vice president will continue on with his schedule today,” O’Malley Dillon said. “He was not in close contact with either of these individuals.”

O’Malley Dillon issued a statement later Thursday disclosing another positive test among an administrative member of the aviation company responsible for chartering Biden’s plane.

She said that Biden did not having close or even passing contact with the person, who traveled on his plane earlier this week for campaign stops in Ohio and Florida, and that Biden’s doctor has said there is no near for him to self-isolate. The individual was contacted as part of the campaign’s contact tracing efforts and tested positive on Thursday.

Biden last tested negative Wednesday evening.

O’Malley Dillon credited the campaign’s “rigorous protocols and testing” for catching the positive tests. She said the campaign would be mindful of its travel schedule and slate of events in the communities they plan to visit as COVID numbers spike in some cities across the U.S.

“We’re very mindful of the COVID number, very mindful of the local guidelines,” O’Malley Dillon said. “We always follow local guidelines, not just with where we’re traveling but what the footprints of our events look like.”

“The most important element is ensuring no one is in harm’s way and we’ll continue to do that,” she said.

Updated at 4:34 p.m.

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