The White House said Monday evening that President Joe Biden spent 30 minutes with an aide on Friday, who has since tested positive for COVID-19.
‘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,’ press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement. ‘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.’
Since the exposure, the president tested negative using an antigen test Sunday and received a negative result with a PCR test Monday morning.
He’ll be tested for the virus again on Wednesday.
The aide was vaccinated and boosted and received a negative COVID test Friday before boarding Air Force One.
‘As CDC guidance does not require fully vaccinated people to quarantine after an exposure, the President will continue with his daily schedule,’ Psaki said.
The admission was previewed at Monday’s press briefing when a New York Times reporter asked the press secretary if Biden was in quarantine.
‘Has there been an outbreak of COVID at the White House, the NSC, the State Department and at the Treasury? And has the president been in close contact with a COVID-positive person and thus in need of quarantine?’ journalist Michael Shear asked.
Psaki answered, ‘The president has a full schedule today and is not in need of quarantine.’
‘We will provide information to all of you as outlined with our commitment from just a few months ago about being transparent about close contacts,’ Psaki said. ‘I don’t have any updates to you at this time,’ she added.
She said breakthrough cases of COVID should be expected ‘across the country.’
‘And certainly within the federal government,’ she said.
Psaki said 99 per cent of the White House staff was vaccinated and that aides have been advised to get booster shots.
‘We have a very thorough process here that people abide by, that are going to have close contact with the president and even beyond that,’ she said. ‘And those protocols go above and beyond CDC guidelines.’
The 79-year-old Biden received his booster shot of Pfizer in September.
The White House has tried to prevent Biden from following in his predecessor’s footsteps and contracting COVID-19.
Former President Donald Trump had COVID and was hospitalized for it in October 2020, just weeks before the presidential election.
Earlier this month, Trump’s former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, revealed in his book that Trump received a positive test days before he publicly acknowledged he had the disease.
Since another COVID test Trump took that day was negative, the then-president continued with this schedule, including participating in the first presidential debate with Biden in Cleveland and traveling to several campaign rallies.
Meadows pushed back on the media buzz over the admission by saying he believed Trump’s test was a ‘false positive.’