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White House communications director tests positive for COVID

Bedingfield said she last saw the president on Wednesday and he's not considered a 'close contact' under CDC guidelines.

WASHINGTON — White House communications director Kate Bedingfield said she tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday morning. It's the latest infiltration of the coronavirus into the West Wing's protective bubble around President Joe Biden. 

Bedingfield said that she last saw the president on Wednesday "in a socially-distanced meeting while wearing an N-95 mask." Biden, because he is fully vaccinated, is not considered a “close contact" under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines

Bedingfield said she's only experiencing mild symptoms.

"In alignment with White House COVID-19 protocols, I will work from home and plan to return to work in person at the conclusion of a five-day isolation period and a negative test," she added. 

Credit: AP
White House communications director Kate Bedingfield speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Thursday, March 31, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Earlier this week, Vice President Kamala Harris tested positive for COVID-19. The White House said neither the president nor first lady Jill Biden were considered a “close contact" of Harris "due to their respective recent travel schedules." 

Harris, 57, received her first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine weeks before taking office and a second dose just days after Inauguration Day in 2021. She received a booster shot in late October and an additional booster on April 1. Fully vaccinated and boosted people have a high degree of protection against serious illness and death from COVID-19, particularly from the most common and highly transmissible omicron variant.

Over the past month, several lawmakers and Biden administration officials have tested positive for COVID including Sen. Ron Wyden, Sen. Chris Murphy, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Susan Collins, Attorney General Merrick Garland and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. 

After the Gridiron Club dinner in Washington earlier this month, some of those who attended, including Cabinet members, other administration officials and members of Congress tested positive for COVID-19 amid a surge of cases around the nation's capital.

Biden plans to attend the White House Correspondents' Association's annual dinner on Saturday, the first time a sitting president will be at the event since Barack Obama in 2016.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden plans to take added COVID precautions by skipping the dinner portion and may wear a mask when he isn't delivering remarks at the event. 

The association is requiring that everyone who attends the dinner must be fully vaccinated, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and produce a negative result from a rapid COVID-19 test taken earlier in the day.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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