White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki ducked on Wednesday whether the Biden administration would have publicly disclosed the recent COVID-19 case of a vaccinated staff member had it not been for him. reported in the press.
Psaki confirmed on Tuesday that there had been several positive COVID-19 test results among vaccinated staff members, shortly after Axios media reported that an anonymous White House official and staff member from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had tested positive following an event last week.
When asked at a press conference on Wednesday whether the White House would have disclosed the matter regardless of Axios’ report, Psaki did not respond directly. She said the White House will disclose cases involving people who were in close contact with senior officials in the future.
“Due to our commitment to transparency, what we will be providing in the future are updates on any White House official who tests positive for COVID-19 as the medical unit of the White House considers it to have close contact with the President, Vice President, First Lady or Second Gentleman, ”Psaki said. “It will be at the White House medical unit based on CDC criteria. “
PELOSI VACCINATED AND WHITE HOUSEHOLD STAFF TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID-19
“At no time was the president forced to change his behavior or self-quarantine due to close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID,” she added.
White House staff were notified of the new policy via email earlier today. Relevant details of positive cases will be released to the press, along with the name of the infected person if they allow it.
The White House’s COVID-19 protocols were re-examined this week after it was revealed that Vice President Kamala Harris tested negative after meeting with several Texas House Democratic lawmakers who had recently contracted the virus. Harris’s office said she was not in close contact with infected lawmakers and did not have to self-isolate.
Psaki noted that with around 2,000 people on White House grounds every day, groundbreaking cases among vaccinated staff “will occur, just as they are happening across the country.”
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“They happened, they will continue to happen. We are prepared for this, ”Psaki said. “As yesterday’s example shows, cases in people who have been vaccinated are generally mild or asymptomatic. It is a further reminder of the effectiveness of covid-19 vaccines against serious illness or hospitalization. “
The press secretary said the White House will continue to follow CDC public health guidelines to inform its own COVID-19 protocols.