Biden had close contact with official who tested positive for COVID

President Biden, Vice President Harris and their spouses were in close contact with a White House official who soon afterward tested positive for COVID-19, White House press secretary Jen Psaki disclosed in a statement Monday.

An antigen test was performed on Mr. Biden’s Sunday and it was negative. The president was made aware of the positive result by the staff member and took a PCR test. He again came back negative. On Wednesday, he’ll undergo his next test. The CDC’s guidance doesn’t demand fully vaccinated individuals to quarantine after they’re exposed to COVID-19, so, the president will continue with his daily schedule, Psaki said.

She described this official as “a mid-level staff member”, who does not regularly communicate with Mr. Biden. The official received a positive COVD-19 test on Monday morning, three days after spending about 30 minutes in Mr. Biden’s proximity on Air Force One en route Philadelphia from South Carolina.

The staff member was fully vaccinated and had taken a booster shot before they boarded Air Force One. The symptoms didn’t begin until Sunday for the official.

Psaki said those who were in close contact with the official on Air Force One are being contacted and advised to take a COVID-19 test, in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.

The president’s exposure occurred as the highly transmissible Omicron variant overtook the Delta variant as the most dominant strain of COVID-19 in the U.S., according to new data released by the CDC on Monday. The variant now makes up more than 73% of new infections, a nearly six-fold increase compared to the week before. Omicron is the most common new case in the South and Central Midwest, Pacific Northwest and New York areas.

Max Bayer contributed this report.

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