A member of the White House staff who is a close contact of the President tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday, the White House revealed in a statement.
The individual, who the White House described as a “mid-level staffer,” tested positive on Monday morning after experiencing Covid symptoms on Sunday.
“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,” the statement from press secretary Jen Psaki said. “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.”
The President received a negative PCR test on Monday and will take another one on Wednesday, the White House said.
“As CDC guidance does not require fully vaccinated people to quarantine after an exposure, the President will continue with his daily schedule,” the statement reads.
Earlier Monday, Psaki told reporters that breakthrough cases of Covid-19 are expected in response to a question about whether there had been recent outbreaks of the virus at agencies within the administration or the White House itself
“The President has a full schedule today and is not in need of quarantine,” Psaki said, answering specifically whether President Biden had been a close contact of any Covid-positive staffers. “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. I don't have any updates for you at this point in time.”
She said that Covid protocols within the White House “go above and beyond CDC guidelines.”
“We expect there to be breakthrough cases across the country, and certainly in the federal government," Psaki continued, stressing that the important factor is that 99% of White House staff is vaccinated.
Pressed on if there had been outbreaks Psaki responded: “I point you to different agencies to give any additional information but I would just note that we do expect there to be breakthrough cases.”
Later, Psaki said the President was “regularly” tested, but did not know offhand when he was last tested. She added that anyone in close contact with Biden must be tested daily.