White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki revealed on Sunday evening she had tested positive for COVID-19 after deciding not to travel with President Biden to the G20 summit in Rome because members of her family had already received positive tests.
Psaki, 42, who has had two doses of vaccine, said she was last in contact with the president on Tuesday, and the two sat more than 6 feet apart while wearing masks.
It makes her the most visible member of the Biden administration to test positive.
‘While I have not had close contact in person with the president or senior members of the White House staff since Wednesday – and tested negative for four days after that last contact – I am disclosing today’s positive test out of an abundance of transparency,’ she said in a statement.
‘I last saw the president on Tuesday, when we sat outside more than six-feet apart, and wore masks.’
She was a late scratch from Biden’s debut on the summit stage in Rome, replaced on the trip by principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Sunday announced she had tested positive for COVID-19 after opting to travel with President Biden to the G20 summit in Rome.
President Biden’s press secretary would have expected to make the trip to Rome and Glasgow for such an important series of meetings
Officials at the time cited a family emergency.
Psaki said: ‘On Wednesday, in coordination with senior leadership at the White House and the medical team, I made the decision not to travel on the foreign trip with the President due to a family emergency, which was members of my household testing positive for COVID-19.’
She said she was working from home.
‘Thanks to the vaccine, I have only experienced mild symptoms which has enabled me to continue working from home.
‘I will plan to return to work in person at the conclusion of the ten day quarantine following a negative rapid test, which is an additional White House requirement, beyond CDC guidance, taken out of an abundance of caution.’
Biden arrived in Rome on Thursday.
After an audience with the pope on Friday, and two days of G20 summitry over the weekend he flies to Scotland on Monday for a major U.N. climate summit.
White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre replaced Psaki at the 11th hour for the six-day trip to Europe
His press secretary would usually be expected to attend such an important trip and Biden’s first chance to make an impact at global summits as president.
White House staff and others traveling with the president have been undergoing daily tests for COVID-19 since before departing Washington and are all fully vaccinated.
Many officials have also received booster shots, due to the close-quarters environment and frequent travel associated with their work.
Biden got his COVID-19 booster on Sept 27, shortly after federal regulators approved the third dose for many Americans.
Vice President Kamala Harris got hers on Saturday.