WASHINGTON (Reuters) -White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, as journalists and politicians in Washington were set to kick off a weekend of events around the annual White House Correspondents Association dinner.
Bedingfield said she was not considered a close contact with President Joe Biden, whom she last saw on Wednesday at a socially-distanced meeting during which she wore an N-95 mask.
Biden tested negative on Thursday, the White House said.
“Thanks to being fully vaccinated and boosted, I am only experiencing mild symptoms,” Bedingfield said, adding that she would work from home, returning to the White House after five days of isolation and a negative test result.
Bedingfield was the latest in a line of Cabinet members, administration officials and White House staffers to get a positive COVID test. Vice President Kamala Harris tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week. She remains asymptomatic, a White House official said.
Other officials who tested positive this month included U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, next in the line of succession to the presidency after Harris, Attorney General Merrick Garland and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.
Biden plans to attend the White House Correspondents Association annual dinner on Saturday but will limit his time there to decrease his chances of being exposed to coronavirus, press secretary Jen Psaki said on Friday.
Biden will not attend the dinner portion of the event and will likely wear a mask when he is not speaking, Psaki said.
The Saturday dinner is being held for the first time since 2019 due to the pandemic.
More broadly, Psaki said people are always tested before meetings with Biden, they almost always wear masks at those meetings, and they try to socially distance whenever possible.
(Reporting by Katharine Jackson; Additional reporting by Chris Gallagher; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Nick Zieminski)