White House says staff member who traveled with President Biden has tested positive for COVID-19

The White House said on Monday night that a staff member who traveled with President Joseph R Biden Jr. on Air Force One, on the way from Orange, South Carolina to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Friday, has tested positive for COVID-19.

In a statement, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that staff member had spent approximately 30 minutes in proximity to the President on Air Force One.

She wrote, “As we stated last summer, we believe it is in the public’s interest to know if any of the four principals (President, Vice President, First Lady, and Second Gentleman) are considered to have been in close contact with a White House official who subsequently tests positive for COVID-19 shortly after that contact. The criteria for what is considered a “close contact” with the principals is determined by the White House Medical Unit, in line with CDC guidance.

“On Monday morning, a mid-level staff member, who does not regularly have contact with the President, received a positive result for a COVID-19 test.  Three days earlier, on Friday, that staff member had spent approximately 30 minutes in proximity to the President on Air Force One, on the way from Orange, South Carolina to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This staff member is fully vaccinated and boosted, and tested negative prior to boarding Air Force One, as is required for everyone traveling with the President. This staff member did not begin to experience symptoms until Sunday, and was tested on Monday.  

“Others on Air Force One who were in close contact with this staff member are being contacted and will be advised to get tested per CDC guidance.

“The President is tested on a regular basis.  As part of that regular testing, the President received an antigen test Sunday, and tested negative.

“This morning, after being notified of the staffer’s positive test, the President received a PCR test and tested negative. He will be tested again on Wednesday.  

“As CDC guidance does not require fully vaccinated people to quarantine after an exposure, the President will continue with his daily schedule.”

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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