“Today, Vice President Harris tested positive for COVID-19 on rapid and PCR tests. She has exhibited no symptoms, will isolate and continue to work from the vice president’s residence,” in a statement, Kirsten Allen, the vice president’s press secretary, said.
Allen added, “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.”
According to daily instructions issued to reporters Monday evening, Harris was set to receive her intelligence briefing at 10:15 a.m. ET Tuesday at the White House alongside President Joe Biden. According to a White House official, she did not attend any events or meetings at the White House on Tuesday, reported CNN.
CNN also cited a White House official stating that Harris arrived at the White House on Tuesday morning and immediately went to take a test. She came home to her quarters at the Naval Observatory, where she would be isolated, after testing positive on both PCR and fast tests.
Separately, an official stated that Harris last saw Biden on April 18 during the Easter Egg Roll, the CNN report stated. She departed Washington that afternoon for California and didn’t return until Monday night.
Last week, while in California, she held portfolio-related activities. Harris did not participate in any public activities over the weekend before returning to the nation’s capital.
The report also says that according to one official, Harris tested negative in her “regular” testing up until Tuesday.
Harris finished her two-dose Moderna COVID-19 vaccine regimen in January 2021. She had her first booster shot in late October, followed by a second shot on April 1.
The vice president’s positive COVID-19 test comes as the United States has largely dropped most of its COVID-19 mitigation measures in the aftermath of the Omicron variant rise this winter.
Officials and visitors have not been forced to wear masks or maintain a social distance at large White House gatherings in accordance with federal public health recommendations. Covid cases in Washington have been on the rise since their peak in early January when the country was dealing with a wave of Omicron variant infections.
Despite the fact that the White House has continued to organise packed interior events where masks are optional and officials have refused to wear masks in public, the administration has stated that they are going above and beyond government guidelines to identify COVID-19 in the facility. There is mandatory testing for anyone who comes into contact with Biden, as well as social separation during meetings, when possible.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki assured that the administration is not considering reintroducing pandemic-era restrictions.
“We are continuing to implement the return-to-work policy and feel we have the measures necessary to do that,” she said.
COVID-19 has recently made the rounds among White House personnel and the Washington elite.
Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, cancelled her intentions to accompany the President to Belgium and Poland in late March after testing positive for COVID-19 for the second time. Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House’s chief deputy press secretary, tested positive immediately after returning from the trip. Harris’ husband, second gentleman Doug Emhoff, was diagnosed with COVID-19 in March.
Following the Gridiron Club Dinner, an annual event attended by members of the press and key Washington politicians, dozens of attendees tested positive, including two Cabinet members and Harris’ communication director, Jamal Simmons. He was regarded as a close associate of the vice president. Following such close encounter, Harris was chastised for appearing to disobey US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention masking guidelines for persons who had been exposed to COVID-19, since she did not wear a mask before the Supreme Court confirmation vote for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.
On Tuesday, Democratic Senators Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Ron Wyden of Oregon disclosed that they, too, had tested positive.