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Three connected to Biden campaign test positive for COVID-19, Harris suspends travel

AP image - Kamala Harris

Biden not altering campaign schedule.

Posted: Oct 15, 2020 9:03 AM
Updated: Oct 15, 2020 4:32 PM

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — At least three people connected to Joe Biden's presidential campaign have tested positive for the coronavirus, leading the campaign to suspend in-person events for vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris through Monday.

Biden is not altering his public schedule, his campaign said Thursday, because he had no direct exposure to the individuals who tested positive, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It’s the Biden campaign’s first major coronavirus scare, after months of safety precautions that drew mockery from President Donald Trump, even after he, first lady Melania Trump and others contracted the virus themselves. The Democratic campaign’s cautious reaction underscores the differences in how the rival camps have approached the pandemic, both in terms of preferred government response and in the candidates’ personal protocols.

Biden's campaign announced two positive cases Thursday morning, identifying Harris' communications director Liz Allen and an unnamed member of the flight crew for one of Harris' recent campaign trips. The campaign announced a third case Thursday afternoon as part of its contact tracing efforts from the first two cases.

The third individual is an aviation company employee who was on Biden's plane for trips to Ohio and Florida earlier this week but who entered the back of the plane and sat far away from Biden, according to the campaign.

Harris and Biden, meanwhile, spent several hours campaigning together in Arizona on Oct. 8, when the first two people who tested positive were on a flight with Harris. Both candidates have tested negative for the coronavirus multiple times since then, including on Thursday. Everyone on the Biden campaign plane is required to wear a mask.

Trump, speaking without a mask at a crowded outdoor rally in North Carolina on Thursday afternoon, offered his best wishes to Harris and reiterated his skepticism of wearing masks.

“We worry about her. I'm very concerned about her,” he said, later adding: “Masks, no masks, everything, you can do all you want, but you know, you still need help."

The travel suspension interrupts the Biden campaign’s aggressive push across a wide battleground map, including North Carolina and Ohio, with less than three weeks to go until Election Day.

Harris was set to encourage early voting Thursday in North Carolina. 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.

Harris will continue virtual campaigning, including fundraisers previously scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

The senator's brief hiatus from the trail comes as Trump ramps up his own travel after he, the first lady, his campaign manager and several White House staffers contracted the virus.

Biden campaign manager Jen O'Malley Dillon told reporters Thursday morning that under CDC guidelines, there was no need for the candidates to quarantine, although she said Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, would suspend travel for several days “out of an abundance of caution.”

“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.

Harris followed up in a statement saying she'd 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.”

O'Malley Dillon announced the third case late Thursday afternoon. She said Biden's medical advisers recommended against a quarantine because of the distance between Biden and the third individual who tested positive.

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.

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 first two positive tests Wednesday night, O'Malley Dillon said. Harris had opted earlier this week to attend virtually — rather than in person — the Senate Judiciary Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett, after some of her GOP Senate colleagues tested positive for the 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 6 feet (1.8 meters) 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. For Biden, a second plane carries the traveling press corps.

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Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 128152

Reported Deaths: 2354
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin33024980
Ramsey13609355
Dakota9467136
Anoka8324150
Stearns554641
Washington539968
Scott326534
Olmsted315930
St. Louis279765
Wright233214
Nobles219516
Clay215343
Blue Earth20037
Carver17247
Kandiyohi16395
Sherburne160621
Rice15929
Mower149915
Winona122518
Crow Wing94721
Lyon9416
Chisago9202
Waseca9199
Benton8827
Beltrami8397
Otter Tail7896
Todd7525
Steele7342
Nicollet70017
Itasca69617
Morrison6578
Freeborn6494
Douglas6323
Martin60216
Le Sueur5985
McLeod5764
Watonwan5724
Polk5574
Goodhue54211
Becker5193
Pine5190
Isanti5115
Chippewa4153
Carlton4031
Dodge3790
Mille Lacs37613
Hubbard3462
Cass3445
Wabasha3430
Pipestone33616
Meeker3183
Brown3113
Rock3113
Yellow Medicine2715
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Unassigned26553
Murray2643
Redwood26011
Fillmore2450
Sibley2423
Renville23711
Faribault2210
Roseau2160
Wadena2082
Jackson2041
Kanabec19410
Swift1931
Houston1861
Stevens1741
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Pennington1711
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Aitkin1592
Pope1520
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Lake1110
Norman1050
Mahnomen1041
Marshall971
Grant924
Clearwater880
Red Lake662
Traverse540
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Kittson370
Cook110

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 111117

Reported Deaths: 1587
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk18419283
Woodbury697994
Johnson571730
Black Hawk535098
Linn5245129
Dubuque489654
Scott421037
Story391018
Dallas336944
Pottawattamie309144
Sioux234314
Buena Vista222512
Marshall195936
Webster178914
Plymouth159426
Wapello149462
Clinton140926
Muscatine139358
Crawford133712
Des Moines13059
Cerro Gordo130423
Warren11856
Carroll107212
Jasper105534
Henry10075
Marion95710
Tama91837
Lee90710
Delaware72912
Dickinson7117
Wright7071
Boone6969
Mahaska65924
Bremer6389
Washington62711
Harrison6238
Jackson5583
Benton5381
Lyon5287
Louisa50715
Clay5044
Hamilton4613
Winnebago45818
Winneshiek4559
Hardin4495
Kossuth4460
Poweshiek44111
Floyd42411
Jones4223
Cedar4205
Buchanan4194
Emmet41517
Iowa3948
Cherokee3832
Franklin37818
Sac3774
Guthrie37615
Clayton3753
Page3740
Shelby3601
Mills3551
Butler3542
Fayette3543
Cass3512
Madison3512
Allamakee3438
Chickasaw3381
Clarke3283
Humboldt3083
Hancock2984
Palo Alto2982
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Calhoun2854
Howard2619
Osceola2610
Monroe25111
Mitchell2380
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Taylor2302
Union2194
Appanoose2173
Pocahontas2172
Jefferson2121
Lucas1976
Fremont1881
Ida1842
Greene1820
Van Buren1662
Davis1634
Montgomery1616
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