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Harris suspends travel after staffer tests COVID-19 positive

Kamala Harris - Democratic vice presidential nominee for the 2020 election, Photo Date: 4/27/19

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris is suspending in-person events until Monday after two people associated with the campaign tested positive for coronavirus.

Posted: Oct 15, 2020 12:48 PM

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, will suspend in-person events until Monday after two people associated with the campaign tested positive for the coronavirus.

Joe Biden's presidential campaign said Thursday that Biden had no exposure, though he and Harris spent several hours campaigning together in Arizona on Oct. 8, when the two people were on a flight with Harris. Both candidates have tested negative for COVID-19 multiple times since then, and Biden's campaign said he tested negative again on Thursday.

It's the Biden campaign's first major coronavirus scare, after months of careful health procedures that brought mockery from President Donald Trump, even after a White House virus outbreak that included the president and first lady Melania Trump. The Democratic campaign's cautious reaction underscores again the differences in how the rival camps have approached the pandemic, both in terms of preferred government response and the candidates' personal protocols.

The travel suspension interrupts the Biden campaign’s aggressive push across a wide battleground map, including North Carolina and Ohio, the next two states Harris was scheduled to visit.

The campaign sees Harris, the first Black woman on a major party presidential ticket, as a key part of its outreach in North Carolina, where increasing Black turnout is key to the Democrats’ hopes of flipping the state. She had been scheduled to travel to the state Thursday for events encouraging voters to cast early ballots.

Her Friday trip to Cleveland would have been her first to Ohio as the vice presidential nominee and would have taken her into the metropolitan area with the state’s largest concentration of Black voters.

The senator's brief hiatus from the trail comes as Trump ramps up his own travel again after he, the first lady 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 the recent campaign trip to the southwest. Campaign manager Jen O'Malley Dillon said both tested negative before and after Harris' travels. Their positive results came in subsequent tests.

“Neither of these individuals had any contact with 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,” O'Malley Dillon said, adding that under CDC guidelines there was no need for quarantining.

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

The campaign also is canceling upcoming travel for Doug Emhoff, Harris' 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, practice social distancing, and wash your hands regularly. It is possible to stop the spread.”

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, including on all flights.

Harris has had two tests since then, most recently on Wednesday, O'Malley Dillon said.

Biden will attend an ABC News town hall on Thursday airing live at 8 p.m. EDT, and he will proceed with his planned travel Friday and through the weekend.

O'Malley Dillon said all campaign staff members on the Oct. 8 flight have been tested at least twice since then. All tests have been negative, she said.

The campaign became aware of the positive tests Wednesday night, O'Malley Dillon said. Harris already this week had opted to attend virtually the Senate Judiciary Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett, rather than in person after some of her GOP Senate colleagues tested positive for coronavirus or disclosed their exposure to others who had tested positive.

Biden's campaign has taken the coronavirus seriously, drawing mockery from Trump and Republicans, even as the White House deals with the fallout of its 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' travel, a second plane carries the rest of the staff. While for Biden, a second plane carries the traveling press corps.

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Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 153270

Reported Deaths: 3807
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10332104
Hinds10190199
Harrison7244111
Jackson6521124
Rankin5805103
Lee523695
Madison4964107
Forrest388286
Jones367788
Lauderdale3575147
Lafayette334952
Washington3241108
Lamar296650
Oktibbeha251362
Lowndes243864
Bolivar242984
Panola229653
Neshoba2241118
Marshall221250
Leflore207791
Monroe203978
Pontotoc202929
Lincoln194865
Sunflower192555
Warren178757
Tate177051
Union171026
Copiah167040
Pike164758
Yazoo158840
Scott157930
Itawamba156135
Alcorn154828
Pearl River154168
Coahoma151943
Simpson151953
Prentiss149531
Adams144451
Grenada142845
Leake139444
Holmes132361
Tippah128030
Covington127939
George126425
Winston124526
Hancock123640
Wayne120623
Marion118646
Attala117534
Tishomingo110842
Chickasaw109032
Newton108029
Tallahatchie97727
Clay93427
Clarke93053
Jasper84822
Stone80015
Calhoun78113
Walthall77229
Montgomery75825
Carroll74015
Lawrence73414
Smith72816
Noxubee72517
Yalobusha72328
Perry68126
Tunica62319
Greene61222
Claiborne58916
Jefferson Davis58817
Amite55814
Humphreys54719
Benton49918
Quitman4977
Webster46414
Kemper44718
Wilkinson40422
Jefferson36411
Franklin3535
Choctaw3507
Sharkey32317
Issaquena1204
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 249524

Reported Deaths: 3578
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson33064500
Mobile19951362
Madison13596148
Tuscaloosa13246154
Montgomery12435236
Shelby1061677
Baldwin889098
Lee781466
Morgan686150
Etowah643966
Calhoun6430121
Marshall635355
Houston537738
DeKalb492236
Cullman451542
Limestone433345
St. Clair432555
Lauderdale422354
Elmore412964
Walker3710111
Talladega359354
Jackson329823
Colbert329642
Blount299740
Autauga278042
Franklin256434
Coffee248315
Dale236254
Chilton227438
Dallas226832
Russell22383
Covington220434
Escambia198931
Tallapoosa184391
Chambers177950
Pike159914
Clarke159819
Marion143636
Winston135123
Lawrence131636
Pickens125718
Geneva12438
Marengo123124
Bibb119617
Barbour117811
Butler117842
Randolph104921
Cherokee103424
Hale97831
Fayette92516
Washington92219
Clay92024
Henry8756
Lowndes80229
Monroe79011
Cleburne77814
Macon74522
Crenshaw72030
Bullock70219
Perry6906
Lamar6898
Conecuh68814
Wilcox64218
Sumter58622
Greene42818
Choctaw42713
Coosa3544
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