Updated Dec 20, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden tests negative after contact with staff member who has virus


Photo: Angus Mordant/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden tested negative for COVID on Monday, several days after being in contact with a "mid-level" White House staffer who has tested positive for the virus, press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement on Monday evening.

Driving the news: "This morning, after being notified of the staffer’s positive test, the President received a PCR test and tested negative," Psaki said in the statement. "He will be tested again on Wednesday."

  • Citing CDC guidance, which says fully vaccinated people do not need to quarantine after exposure, Biden will continue with his regular schedule.

Details: The staff member, who is not identified and "does not regularly have contact" with Biden, tested positive on Monday, according to the statement.

  • On Friday, the same staffer, who is fully vaccinated and boosted, "spent approximately 30 minutes in proximity to the President on Air Force One, on the way from Orange, South Carolina, to Philadelphia," Psaki said.
  • The staffer had tested negative before boarding AF1 like everyone who travels with Biden.
  • Psaki said this person started experiencing symptoms on Sunday and was tested on Monday.  

Of note: "The criteria for what is considered a 'close contact' with the principals is determined by the White House Medical Unit, in line with CDC guidance," Psaki said.

  • Others onboard who came in "close contact" with the staffer are being notified and advised to get tested.

The president will deliver a speech on Tuesday addressing the Omicron variant and unveil new steps the administration is taking to help communities in need of assistance.

The big picture: Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Cory Booker of New Jersey have tested positive for the virus. Both are vaccinated and have received a booster shot.

  • Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who is also fully vaccinated and has received the booster, said Monday he tested positive.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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