WASHINGTON — Vice President Kamala Harris has tested positive for COVID-19, her press secretary said in a statement.
"Today, Vice President Harris tested positive for COVID-19 on rapid and PCR tests. She has exhibited no symptoms, will isolate and continue to work from the Vice President’s residence," the vice president's press secretary, Kristen Allen, said.
"She has not been a close contact to the President or First Lady due to their respective recent travel schedules," the statement continued. "She will follow CDC guidelines and the advice of her physicians. The Vice President will return to the White House when she tests negative."
Harris, 57, received her first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine weeks before taking office and a second dose just days after Inauguration Day in 2021. She received a booster shot in late October and an additional booster on April 1. Fully vaccinated and boosted people have a high degree of protection against serious illness and death from COVID-19, particularly from the most common and highly transmissible omicron variant.
The White House said neither President Joe Biden nor first lady Jill Biden were considered a “close contact" of Harris in recent days.
Harris’ diagnosis comes a month after her husband, Doug Emhoff, recovered from the virus, as a wave of cases of the highly transmissible omicron subvariant has spread through Washington’s political class, infecting Cabinet members, White House staffers and lawmakers including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Allen said Harris would follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines “and the advice of her physicians.” It was not immediately clear whether she is being prescribed any antiviral treatments.
After more than two years and nearly a million deaths in the U.S., the virus is still killing more than 300 people a day in the U.S., according to the CDC. The unvaccinated are at a far greater risk, more than three times as likely to test positive and 20 times as likely to die from the virus than those who have received at least a primary dose of the vaccines, according to the public health agency.
Harris' diagnosis comes as the Biden administration is taking steps to expand availability of the life-saving COVID-19 antiviral treatment Paxlovid, reassuring doctors that there is ample supply for people at high risk of severe illness or death from the virus.
Paxlovid, when administered within five days of symptoms appearing, has been proven to bring about a 90% reduction in hospitalizations and deaths among patients most likely to get severe disease.
This is a breaking news update. The story will be updated as more details become available.