Kamala Harris halts campaign travel after 2 people including staffer test positive for COVID-19

Joe Biden’s presidential campaign said Thursday that vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris will suspend in-person events until Monday after two people associated with the campaign tested positive for the coronavirus.

The campaign said Biden had no exposure, though he and Harris spent several hours campaigning together in Arizona on Oct. 8.

Harris had been scheduled to travel Thursday to North Carolina and Ohio on Friday, both competitive states in the presidential race.

The senator’s brief hiatus from the trail comes as Trump ramps up his own travel again two weeks after he, wife Melania Trump and several White House staffers contracted the virus.

The Biden campaign told reporters Thursday morning that Harris’ communications director, Liz Allen, and a flight crew member tested positive after a recent campaign trip to the southwest.

Campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said “neither of these individuals had any contact with [former] 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.”

But Harris would suspend travel for several days “out of an abundance of caution,” O’Malley Dillon said.

The campaign also is cancelling upcoming travel for Doug Emhoff, Harris’s 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, practise social distancing, and wash your hands regularly. It is possible to stop the spread.”

Joint campaign stop last week

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

Harris and Biden spent several hours together on Oct. 8 through multiple campaign stops, private meetings and a joint appearance in front of reporters at an airport. They were masked at all times in public, and aides said they were masked in private, as well.

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris are shown at a campaign event in Phoenix on Oct. 8. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Harris has had two tests since Oct. 8, most recently Wednesday, O’Malley Dillon said. Biden’s last announced negative test was Tuesday.

Biden is scheduled to attend an ABC News town hall airing live at 8 p.m. ET, with NBC carrying a similar event with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Biden’s team has taken precautions against the coronavirus while campaigning, with some of the measures drawing mockery from Trump and Republicans even as the White House deals with the fallout of its own virus outbreak.

The Democratic ticket’s campaign events are socially distanced and require participants to wear masks. Staff often set chairs inside white plastic circles to denote six feet of distance. During a recent indoor speech at a North Carolina event for Harris, reporters were given and asked to wear KN95 masks.

Biden and Harris typically keep their masks on when speaking indoors. Both travel on planes with a small number of staff and Secret Service. For Harris’s travel, a second plane carries the rest of the staff, while for Biden, a second plane carries the traveling press corps.

Read more at CBC.ca