(CNN) — White House communications director Kate Bedingfield has tested positive for COVID-19, becoming the latest high-level Biden official to test positive for the virus. President Joe Biden, she said in a statement, is not a close contact.
“This morning, I tested positive for COVID-19. I last saw the President Wednesday in a socially-distanced meeting while wearing an N-95 mask, and he is not considered a close contact as defined by the CDC,” she said in a tweet.
Bedingfield said she is experiencing mild symptoms and is “fully vaccinated and boosted,” in a subsequent tweet, adding that she would work from home and return to in-person work after a five-day isolation period and negative test.
The news comes the same week Vice President Kamala Harris tested positive for COVID-19.
Harris, who is fully vaccinated and not experiencing symptoms, tested positive on Tuesday after returning from a weeklong trip to California. Her spokesperson Kirsten Allen saidthat the President was not a close contact and that Harris would work from the vice president’s residence until she tests negative.
Harris has been taking the antiviral coronavirus treatment Paxlovid after consulting her physicians, according to Allen. Paxlovid is available via emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration for treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in people 12 and older who are at high risk of severe illness. It requires a doctor’s prescription.
COVID-19 has been spreading among White House officials over the past couple of months. In late March, White House press secretary Jen Psaki canceled her plans to travel with the President to Belgium and Poland after testing positive for COVID-19 for the second time. Her replacement on the Europe trip, White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, tested positive shortly after returning from the trip. Harris’ husband, second gentleman Doug Emhoff, tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in March.
White House officials have acknowledged that it is “possible” the President will at some point contract COVID-19 but have emphasized the precautions being taken to prevent infection.
“The bottom line is he is vaccinated and boosted. He is very well protected. He’s got very good protocols around him to protect him from getting infected. But there is no 100% anything,” White House COVID-19 response coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said on Tuesday.
The President is scheduled to attend two high-profile events this weekend — the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington and a memorial for former Vice President Walter Mondale in Minneapolis.
White House officials argue the nation is in a much better position than it was at the beginning of the pandemic because of the availability of vaccines, boosters, at-home tests, treatments and masks. The US has largely lifted most of its COVID-19 mitigation measures after the Omicron variant spike over the winter.
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