July 22, 2021 -- A White House official and a staff member in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office have tested positive for COVID-19 after attending the same reception last week. Both people are fully vaccinated.
The White House staff member, who tested positive Monday, has mild symptoms and is off-site while taking additional tests.
“We know there will be breakthrough cases, but as this incident shows, cases in vaccinated individuals are typically mild,” Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, told reporters on Tuesday.
Both the White House official and Pelosi’s staff member were at the same rooftop reception last Wednesday. The White House official hasn’t had close contact with President Joe Biden or other senior administrators, and Pelosi’s staff member hasn’t had contact with Pelosi since the exposure.
Pelosi’s staff member, who has been identified as a senior spokesperson in the press office, ushered a group of Democratic lawmakers from Texas around the Capitol last week. Six members of the delegation have tested positive for COVID-19 since then.
“The entire Press Office is working remotely today with the exception of individuals who have had no exposure to the individual or have had a recent negative test,” Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, told The Washington Post.
“Our office will continue to follow the guidance of the Office of Attending Physician closely,” he said.
The Texas delegation met with lawmakers from Georgia, Maryland and Virginia last week, and some were scheduled to attend a church service in Virginia. The service was canceled due to the outbreak, The Washington Post reported, and now everyone who has come into contact with the Texas group is being tested.
“Right now we’re seeing breakthrough cases in the vaccinated population, in a wide array of professions and parts of the world,” Chris Turner, chair of the Texas House Democrats, told reporters on Tuesday.
“It’s just, I think, a reminder,” he said. “It’s really, really important that we get people vaccinated ASAP.”