Harris cancels travel after Biden campaign announces positive Covid tests

Harris cancels travel after Biden campaign announces positive Covid tests

Neither of the individuals who tested positive had contact with Harris or former Vice President Joe Biden “or any other staffers since testing positive or in the 48 hours prior to their positive test results,” O’Malley Dillon said.

Harris was previously set to campaign in North Carolina on Thursday, traveling to Charlotte and Asheville to mark the beginning of early voting in the key battleground state.

On Friday, the senator was scheduled to travel to Cleveland.

In an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Wednesday night, Harris said she would also be in Pennsylvania over the weekend and teased a campaign trip to Texas as well.

She had been off the trail this week as she participated in the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, though Harris appeared virtually for each of the hearing’s first three days.

Both the flight crew member, who is not a part of the Biden campaign, and Harris’ communications director Liz Allen had attended personal events not related to the campaign in the past week, according to O’Malley Dillon. As part of the campaign’s health protocols, both were required to be tested before returning to work with the campaign.

Prior to that, both of those who tested positive were last on a flight with Harris on Oct. 8. Both the flight crew member and Allen, as well as Harris, wore an N-95 mask, and Harris was never within six feet of either for longer than 15 minutes, the campaign said.

The campaign is also postponing campaign travel for Harris’ husband Doug Emhoff, though he had no contact with either Allen or the flight crew member. He will return to the trail on Friday.

O’Malley Dillon attributed the campaign’s “strict” protocols with potentially protecting the infection of other campaign staffers or the candidates.

“These protocols help protect the campaign, the staff, and anyone who they may have contact with; the importance of having such protocols — which include testing before resuming duties, regular testing while working in-person, isolation after time off, and masking and distancing while on campaign duties — have been illustrated once again,” she said.

Beyond Harris’s two negative tests — the most recent of which came on Wednesday — all other staffers on the Oct. 8 flight have taken “routine tests” since, which the campaign said amounted to “two to three PCR tests each,” all of which came back negative. O’Malley Dillon said that the campaign has already begun contact tracing to notify anyone who had potentially been exposed during the infection window.

“From the outset of this pandemic, the Biden-Harris campaign has taken every precaution to limit the spread of COVID-19. Today’s exceedingly cautious steps are part of that commitment,” she said.

The two cases come after President Donald Trump announced he was diagnosed with coronavirus earlier this month amid a larger outbreak that spread throughout the White House, infected his reelection campaign manager and other allies.

The president has since returned to the campaign trail, holding outdoor rallies every day this week with hundreds of attendees and little social distancing, even as coronavirus cases spike around the country.

The Biden campaign has repeatedly sought to contrast its internal health protocols and the precautions taken for in-person campaign events with those of the Trump campaign, even as Trump has mocked Biden for holding smaller events.

“Joe doesn’t have any rallies because nobody shows up to his rallies, so he doesn’t have the same problem,” Trump said Thursday in an interview on Fox Business when asked about descriptions of his rallies as “super spreader” events.

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