The White House announced it was changing its COVID-19 disclosure policy on Wednesday and in future will announce any positive tests among officials if they come into contact with President Biden, Vice President Harris or their spouses.
It comes after Press Secretary Jen Psaki admitted there had been multiple cases at the White House that had not previously been revealed.
‘Because of our commitment to transparency, what we’re going to be providing, moving forward, are updates on any White House official who tests positive for COVID-19 that the White House medical unit deemed as having had close contact with the president, vice president, first lady, or second gentleman,’ said Psaki.
White House staff have been informed, she added.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters the White House was changing its COVID-19 disclosure policy on Wednesday and will now announce any positive tests among officials if they come into contact with President Biden, Vice President Harris or their spouses.
President Biden travelled to Cincinnati, Ohio, on Wednesday. The White House will now announce positive tests of anyone who has been in close contact with the president, the vice president or their spouses
The U.S. recorded 52,111 new COVID-19 cases on Monday with a seven-day rolling average of 34,682, which is a 224% increase from the 10,678 average recorded three weeks ago
‘I’d also note, today an email from our COVID-19 operations protocol team has been sent to White House staff, informing them of the official policy, that if you are in close contact with the principal and test positive for COVID-19, your case will be disclosed to press along with any other relevant details,’ she told reporters traveling with the president to Cincinnati, Ohio.
The policy change is the latest admission that vaccinations have not ended the risk of infection.
The Biden administration has resumed in-person events such as press briefings without social distancing in the same way that much of the country has dropped restrictions.
But on Tuesday it emerged that an aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a White House official had both tested positive despite being vaccinated.
White House protocols were already under scrutiny after it emerged the vice president had tested negative after meeting Texas House Democratic lawmakers last week who subsequently tested positive.
Her office said the contact was not close enough to require a period of quarantine.
Psaki said more cases are inevitable.
‘We know that there will be breakthrough cases, but as this instance shows, cases in vaccinated individuals are typically mild,’ she said when asked about the White House case.
She then admitted there had been more cases which were not publicly revealed.
‘There have been.’ she said.
‘I will say that we, according to an agreement we made during the transition to be transparent and make information available, we committed that we would release information proactively if it is commissioned officers.’
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was spotted wearing a face mask in the Capitol on Tuesday amid fresh warnings of the dangers of the Delta variant of coronavirus
It follows a string of warnings about rising cases, the threat of the Delta variant of the virus and new mask mandates.
Los Angeles county residents are now being asked to wear masks indoors again, regardless of their vaccination status.
Masks have also returned to congress amid an uptick in cases.
Brian Monahan, the attending physician for Congress, released a memo on Tuesday warning about the ‘severe threat’ of the delta variant for unvaccinated people but stopped short of recommending masks.
‘The Centers for Disease Control does not generally require vaccinated individuals to wear a mask indoors at this time,’ he said.
‘Despite the excellent protective value of the vaccine in preventing hospitalization and death, there is still a possibility a fully vaccinated individual could acquire infection in their nose and throat, mild symptoms, or the ability to transmit the coronavirus infection to others.’