An aviation company employee who recently flew on Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's campaign plane has tested positive for the coronavirus. The person is the third individual connected to Biden's campaign to test positive. Earlier Thursday morning, the former vice president's campaign announced a close advisor to his running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, tested positive, as well as another person who works on the plane.
The plane employee's positive test came after contact tracing efforts that started after the first two cases were announced, reports the Associated Press. The employee was on the plane for Biden's trips to Ohio and Florida earlier this week. The person entered the plane from the back and sat far from Biden. Despite the announcements, Biden's town hall event with ABC News in Philadelphia went on as planned. Campaign manager Jen O'Malley Dillon said none of the people who tested positive came in close contact with Biden.
In a lengthy statement, Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon announces two individuals involved with the campaign tested positive for Covid, including Kamala Harris’ comms director. pic.twitter.com/0PNR4USZYy— DJ Judd (@DJJudd) October 15, 2020
O'Malley Dillon said Thursday morning that neither of the first two individuals who tested positive came in close contact with Biden or Harris in the previous 48 hours before their positive test, reports The Hill. The candidates would not have to self-quarantine, but Harris' travel was canceled through Sunday "out of an abundance of caution and in line with our campaign's commitment to the highest levels or precaution." Harris would continue virtual campaign events for the rest of the week, O'Malley Dillon said.
Harris' communications director Liz Allen and a "non-staff flight crew member" were the first two individuals connected to the Biden campaign to test positive. The campaign learned about the positive test Wednesday night. They were last on a flight with Harris on Oct. 8, but tested negative before and after the flight. Harris herself last tested negative on Wednesday and will be tested again Thursday, the campaign said. Biden also last tested negative on Wednesday.
The response to the Biden campaign's first known outbreak of the virus came in stark contrast to President Donald Trump's campaign. Trump tested positive for the coronavirus himself earlier this month, and the White House has often given contradictory information on testing. Trump also continues speaking in front of large crowds, many not wearing face masks or following social distancing guidelines. Biden's campaign strictly enforces masks and social distancing at its events. On Thursday, O'Malley Dillon credited their strict protocols for helping them quickly identify the outbreak. "It is because of the protocols that we have in place that we have been able to get this information, that we were able to identify what's happening here," she said.