White House communications director tests positive for COVID-19

Associated Press/Patrick Semansky
White House communications director Kate Bedingfield speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Wednesday, March 30, 2022, in Washington.

White House communications director Kate Bedingfield tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, the latest official close to President Biden to come down with the virus.

Bedingfield said on Twitter that she is not considered a close contact of Biden, who is slated to attend Saturday’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.

Bedingfield last saw Biden on Wednesday during a socially distanced meeting. She was wearing an N-95 mask, she tweeted.

“Thanks to being fully vaccinated and boosted, I am only experiencing mild symptoms. In alignment with White House COVID-19 protocols, I will work from home and plan to return to work in person at the conclusion of a five-day isolation period and a negative test,” Bedingfield tweeted.

Bedingfield is just the latest White House official to test positive for the virus as cases across the country tick up.

Vice President Harris tested positive earlier this week, and second gentleman Doug Emhoff, press secretary Jen Psaki and principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre have all contracted the virus in recent weeks.

Biden has not been considered a close contact of any of those individuals, based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, which define a close contact as being within 6 feet of an infected individual for 15 minutes or longer.

Still, Bedingfield’s positive test underscores how the virus is circulating among administration officials and around Washington, D.C. She was expected to attend this weekend’s White House correspondents dinner. Thousands of journalists, government officials and special guests are expected to gather for the event on Saturday.

Vaccinations and negative same-day tests are required for attendees, but nerves are up given cases that popped up at a similar dinner in April.

White House officials have in recent weeks sought to prepare the public for the possibility that Biden could test positive for the virus. While he has been vaccinated and received two booster shots, Biden is 79 and in a higher risk group for a potentially serious illness. 

The White House has said Biden will reduce his presence at Saturday’s event by skipping the “eating” portion of the dinner.

Tags Doug Emhoff Jen Psaki Joe Biden Kamala Harris Karine Jean-Pierre Kate Bedingfield

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