Biden Tests Negative for COVID After Close Contact Tests Positive

Biden Tests Negative for COVID After Close Contact Tests Positive president joe biden bows his head in the foreground shadow (Raphael Lafargue/AP)

By Eric Mack | Monday, 20 December 2021 07:14 PM

After a "mid-level" White House staffer tested positive for COVID-19, President Joe Biden has since tested negative twice, White House press secretary Jen Psaki wrote in a statement Monday night.

"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," she wrote. "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 Orangeburg, South Carolina to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

"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."

Others on Air Force One who were in close contact with this staff member are being contacted and will be advised to get tested, she added.

Biden received an antigen test Sunday and tested negative. After being notified of the staffer's positive test, Biden received a PCR test and tested negative. He will be tested again Wednesday, the statement added.

"As CDC guidance does not require fully vaccinated people to quarantine after an exposure, the president will continue with his daily schedule," Psaki's statement concluded.

In Monday's White House daily press briefing, Psaki alluded to the pending announcement of a close contact to the president having contracted COVID-19.

"The most important thing to note for you and for others is that 99% or more at this point of the White House staff is vaccinated," Psaki said, declining to announce the COVID-19 positive staffer then. "Boosters are strongly recommended and distributed. We have a very thorough process here that people abide by, who are going to have close contact with the president and even beyond that, and those protocols go above and beyond CDC guidelines."

"We do expect there to be breakthrough cases, as there will be across government," she added.