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White House and Pelosi aides test positive for coronavirus amid Texas lawmakers' D.C. visit

Both aides had been fully vaccinated, and Pelosi's staff member had been in contact with the Texas lawmakers, her spokesman said.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks at the Capitol on June 29, 2021.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks at the Capitol on June 29.Kevin Dietsch / Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — A White House staffer and a senior communications aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have tested positive for Covid-19 after being fully vaccinated, a White House official and a spokesman for the California Democrat confirmed Tuesday.

Pelosi's aide received the diagnosis after coming in contact with members of the Texas Legislature last week, the speaker's spokesman, Drew Hammill, said.

The aide "has had no contact with the speaker since exposure," Hammill said. Additionally, the entire press office was working remotely Tuesday, with the exception of those who had no exposure to the aide or have recently tested negative, he said.

Axios, which was first to report the infections, said the White House staffer had been at an event with Pelosi's aide last week.

The White House official said the White House Medical Unit has conducted contact tracing interviews and determined there have been “no close contacts among White House principals and staff” and that the person is experiencing mild symptoms.

The official emphasized that so-called breakthrough infections of those who have been vaccinated are to be expected and that the mild symptoms the aide is experiencing are an indication the vaccines are working.

Other breakthrough cases among White House staff have occurred, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday, but she did not disclose how many. Psaki said those cases had not been disclosed because in "an agreement that we made during the transition to be transparent and make information available, we committed that we would release information proactively if it is commissioned officers."

On Wednesday, Psaki announced that going forward the White House would make public any positive Covid cases among staffers who the White House Medical Unit deems to have been in "close contact" with the president, first lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff.

She also said Wednesday that roughly 2,000 people are on the White House campus every day and statistically speaking, Covid cases among vaccinated staffers are expected.

The Texas delegation fled en masse to Washington on July 12 to try to block passage of a restrictive state GOP voting bill, aiming to stay away until the special session called by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott ends.

On Monday, a sixth member of the Texas delegation in Washington, D.C., tested positive for Covid-19, a spokesperson for the lawmakers told NBC News.

Cara Santucci, the spokeswoman for the Texas House Democrats, confirmed the case and said the undisclosed member is self-isolating.

Santucci had said last week the delegation would provide daily rapid tests for its members and their staffers who are in the nation's capital. But in a statement on Monday, she said the delegation will no longer release a daily Covid-19 case count.