Harris Suspends Travel After Campaign Staffer Tests Positive for COVID-19

October 15, 2020 by Dan McCue
In this Oct. 8, 2020, photo, Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., speaks at Carpenters Local Union 1912 in Phoenix, as Democratic presidential candidate former vice president Joe Biden listens. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Sen. Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, has suspended in-person events through Monday after two people associated with the campaign tested positive for the coronavirus.

Though Harris herself has tested negative for the virus in recent days, a flight crew member on her campaign plane and her communications director, Liz Allen, have both reportedly tested positive.

“Neither of these individuals had any contact with Vice President Biden, with Sen. Harris or any other staff member since testing positive or in the 48-hour period prior to their positive test results,” Campaign Manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said, adding that under Centers for Disease Control guidelines there was no need for quarantining.

O’Malley Dillon said Harris is suspending travel for several days “out of an abundance of caution.”

The campaign also is canceling upcoming travel for Doug Emhoff, Harris’ husband.

Harris followed up in a statement saying that “both the crew member and the staff member were wearing N95 masks at all points they were near me, and our doctors believe that we were not exposed under CDC guidelines.”

She also pledged to be “transparent with you about any test results that I do receive. In the meantime, remember: wear a mask, practice social distancing, and wash your hands regularly. It is possible to stop the spread.”

Harris will continue virtual campaigning, including fundraisers previously scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Joe Biden’s presidential campaign also released a statement Thursday saying the presidential candidate has not been exposed.

According to the campaign, Biden and Harris last campaigned together in Arizona on Oct. 8, and the two people who have now tested positive were on the senator’s flight.

However, both Biden and Harris have been tested multiple times since then, the campaign said.

Harris’ travel suspension interrupts the Biden campaign’s aggressive push across a wide battleground map, including North Carolina and Ohio, the next two states Harris was scheduled to visit.

Biden aides see Harris, the first Black woman on a major party presidential ticket, as a key part of the campaign’s outreach in North Carolina, where increasing Black turnout is key to the Democrats’ hopes of flipping the state.

She had been scheduled to travel to the state Thursday for events encouraging voters to cast early ballots.

Her Friday trip to Cleveland would have been her first to Ohio as the vice presidential nominee and would have taken her into the metropolitan area with the state’s largest concentration of Black voters.

Biden will attend an ABC News town hall on Thursday airing live at 8 p.m. EDT, and he will proceed with his planned travel Friday and through the weekend. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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