UPDATED, 12:02 PM: Vice President Kamala Harris’ office said today that she has tested negative for Covid, six days after a positive test.
Today, the Vice President tested negative for COVID-19 on a rapid antigen test,” Harris’ Press Secretary Kristen Allen said in a statement. “The Vice President will return to work, in person, tomorrow. Following CDC guidelines, she will wear a well-fitting mask while around others through the 10-day period.”
PREVIOUSLY, April 26: Vice President Kamala Harris has tested positive for Covid, the White House said on Tuesday.
“Today, Vice President Harris tested positive for COVID-19 on rapid and PCR tests,” said Harris’ press secretary Kirsten Allen. “She has exhibited no symptoms, will isolate and continue to work from the Vice President’s residence. She has not been a close contact to the President or First Lady due to their respective recent travel schedules. She will follow CDC guidelines and the advice of her physicians. The Vice President will return to the White House when she tests negative.”
Harris and her husband, First Gentleman Doug Emhoff, just returned on Monday from a visit to Los Angeles. A week ago, on April 18, they attended an in-person fundraiser at the Brentwood home of Walt Disney Television’s Dana Walden and her husband, producer Matt Walden. The event drew about 30 people, including Ryan Murphy, J.J. Abrams and Reggie Hudlin. The vice president also had a number of other public events on her schedule early last week, including a visit to Vandenberg Air Force Base and another to the University of California San Francisco Mission Bay
Emhoff tested positive for Covid in March.
The White House issued a statement saying that President Joe Biden and Harris “spoke on the phone this afternoon. He wanted to check in and make sure she has everything she needs as she quarantines at home.” The last time they saw each other on April 18.
Harris also tweeted, “Today I tested positive for COVID-19. I have no symptoms, and I will continue to isolate and follow CDC guidelines. I’m grateful to be both vaccinated and boosted.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the administration is conducting contact tracing to inform those who interacted with her.
At the daily briefing, reporters queried Psaki on the protocols for Biden, who, like Harris, has been traveling and going to large public events. This weekend, he will attend the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner and travel to Minneapolis to attend a memorial service for former Vice President Walter Mondale.
Ashish Jha, the White House Covid response coordinator, told reporters that the country was at an “inflection point” on the pandemic. He said that Harris is vaccinated and twice boosted, but “we have a very, very contagious variant out there. It is going to be hard to make sure that no one gets Covid in America. That is not even a policy goal. The goal of our policy should be, obviously minimize infections whenever possible, but also to make sure people don’t get seriously ill.”
He said that hospitalizations are at the lowest level of the pandemic but deaths are continuing to fall, at about 300 per day. But cases are rising.
“It is possible that the president, like any other American, could get Covid,” Jha said. “The bottom line is, he is vaccinated and boosted. He is very well protected. He has got very good protocols around him to protect him from getting Covid. But there is no 100% anything. I think the key focus has got to be that we have got to continue protecting the president.”
Psaki said that she did not expect a change in protocols at the White House given Harris’ positive test. The White House has been testing those who will come in close contact with Biden, as well as using some forms of social distancing, she said.
The WHCA dinner on Saturday will be the first to be held in three years, and the first that a president will attend since 2016. Organizers are requiring attendees to show proof of vaccination and a negative test. Psaki said that Biden “made a decision through consultations that it was an event he could attend, he wanted to attend.”
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