Statement by Biden for President Campaign Manager Jen O'Malley Dillon
Around noon on Thursday, October 15th, we learned – as part of our contact tracing of the crew member on Senator Harris’ plane that tested positive for COVID last night – that an administrative member of the Aviation company that charters Vice President Biden’s aircraft tested positive for COVID-19. Vice President Biden was not in close contact, as defined by the CDC, with this individual at any time. In fact, the Vice President did not even have passing contact: this individual was over 50 feet from VP Biden at all times, entered and exited the aircraft from a rear entrance, and both the individual and the Vice President wore masks for the entire flight. Given these facts, we have been advised by the Vice President’s doctor and the campaign’s medical advisors that there is no need for the Vice President to quarantine.
This individual traveled on the plane during the Vice President’s trip to Ohio on Monday and Florida on Tuesday, and was stationed in the last row of the 737 aircraft – over 50 feet away from the Vice President – throughout all of the flights. This distance is well beyond the standard two rows (in front and behind) of distance the CDC generally uses when conducting contact investigations on aircraft for infectious diseases.
The administrative member of the Aviation company had previously tested negative for COVID-19 three times since October 4th, including most recently on October 11th (less than 24 hours before the first flight), in accordance with the campaign’s COVID safety protocols for members of our flight crew. The person was contacted as part of our contact tracing on Thursday morning, reported symptoms, sought a test for COVID-19, and was positive. A second test confirmed the positive result around noon today.
The campaign is in the process of reaching out to close contacts of the individual who tested positive and recommending they quarantine. No campaign staff members were in close contact with this individual. The individual wore a mask throughout their time traveling with the Vice President and his accompanying party. The Vice President and his team wore N95 masks during the flights.
As we announced earlier today, Senator Harris’ contact with the crew member on her flight, and her staffer, were so incidental that she is not required to quarantine. Nonetheless, we postponed her travel plans out of an abundance of caution given even this incidental contact. Given that the Vice President had no physical proximity at all with this administrative crew member, and that his plane is larger than Sen. Harris’ plane, and the distance from the individual is significant (over 50 feet), there is no reason to even undertake such a caution.
While no additional precautions are indicated for the Vice President or campaign staff, we have taken this occasion to remind all of our staff and partners of the importance of adhering to our COVID-19 safety protocols, including maintaining social distance of at least 6 feet, wearing a mask at all times, and staying home if they feel sick.