3 linked to Biden/Harris campaign test positive for coronavirus

Politics

FILE – In this Aug. 12, 2020, file photo Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., arrive to speak at a news conference at Alexis Dupont High School in Wilmington, Del. As Democrats gather virtually this week to nominate Joe Biden for the presidency, party leaders and activists across the political spectrum agree on one unifying force: their desire to defeat President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Contact tracing after a crew member on Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris’ plane tested positive for coronavirus revealed Thursday that a third person linked to the Biden/Harris campaign has now tested positive.

Harris canceled travel plans for campaign events through Sunday after two people involved in her campaign tested positive for coronavirus. The Biden campaign says the third positive test came from an administrative member of the Aviation company that charters Biden’s aircraft.

One of the people linked to Harris who tested positive was Liz Allen, the senator’s communications director, according to a statement from the campaign released Thursday. The other was a non-staff flight crew member.

According to the campaign, Biden was not in close contact, as defined by the CDC, with the aviation staff member; they did not have passing contact and the individual was over 50 feet away from Biden at all times. The campaign said both the individual and Biden wore masks.

“Given these facts, we have been advised by the Vice President’s doctor and the campaign’s medical advisors that there is no need for the Vice President to quarantine,” the campaign said in a statement.

The campaign says Biden and his team wore N95 masks on the Monday flight to Ohio and Tuesday flight to Florida, during which the individual who tested positive was stationed in the last row of the 737 aircraft. They noted no campaign members had close contact with the individual.

The Biden for President campaign released the following statement in part regarding the first two positive tests:

Late on the night of Wednesday, October 14th, we learned that two individuals involved in the campaign tested positive for COVID-19:  a non-staff flight crew member and Liz Allen, communications director to Senator Harris.  Senator Harris was not in close contact, as defined by the CDC, with either of these individuals during the two days prior to their positive tests; as such, there is no requirement for quarantine.  Regardless, out of an abundance of caution and in line with our campaign’s commitment to the highest levels of precaution, we are canceling Senator Harris’s travel through Sunday, October 18th, but she will keep a robust and aggressive schedule of virtual campaign activities to reach voters all across the country during this time. She will return to in-person campaigning on Monday, October 19th. This is the sort of conduct we have continuously modeled in this campaign.  

Neither of these people have had contact with Vice President Biden, Senator Harris or any other staffers since testing positive or in the 48 hours prior to their positive test results.

Campaign manager jen o’malley dillon

The campaign released the following statement, in part, regarding the third positive test:

Around noon on Thursday, October 15th, we learned – as part of our contact tracing of the crew member on Senator Harris’ plane that tested positive for COVID last night – that an administrative member of the Aviation company that charters Vice President Biden’s aircraft tested positive for COVID-19. Vice President Biden was not in close contact, as defined by the CDC, with this individual at any time. In fact, the Vice President did not even have passing contact: this individual was over 50 feet from VP Biden at all times, entered and exited the aircraft from a rear entrance, and both the individual and the Vice President wore masks for the entire flight. Given these facts, we have been advised by the Vice President’s doctor and the campaign’s medical advisors that there is no need for the Vice President to quarantine.

This individual traveled on the plane during the Vice President’s trip to Ohio on Monday and Florida on Tuesday, and was stationed in the last row of the 737 aircraft – over 50 feet away from the Vice President – throughout all of the flights. This distance is well beyond the standard two rows (in front and behind) of distance the CDC generally uses when conducting contact investigations on aircraft for infectious diseases. 

CAMPAIGN MANAGER JEN O’MALLEY DILLON

Harris was scheduled to travel Thursday to North Carolina for events encouraging voters to cast early ballots. Harris was last tested for the virus on Oct. 14, according to the campaign. The test was negative.

The campaign says Biden will continue to travel, as he “had no physical proximity at all with this administrative crew member, and that his plane is larger than Sen. Harris’ plane, and the distance from the individual is significant (over 50 feet),” noting that “there is no reason to even undertake” the precaution of postponing travel plans.

The campaign said it would cancel Harris’ husband Doug Emhoff’s travel on Thursday. He was expected to return to in-person campaigning Friday.

This comes after President Donald Trump tested positive for coronavirus earlier this month, along with his wife first lady Melania Trump, his son Barron and members of his inner circle.

This story is developing. Refresh for updates.

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