According to Michael LaRosa, the first lady’s spokesperson, the president and first lady are not close contacts.
Ashley Biden will no longer be joining the first lady on her trip to Ecuador, Panama and Costa Rica, LaRosa said. Jill Biden is scheduled to depart Wednesday afternoon for Quito, Ecuador.
This is the second foreign trip Ashley Biden has had to drop out of in recent weeks. She was considered a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19 before the first lady’s trip to Poland, Romania and Ukraine earlier this month.
As the BA.2 subvariant has spread around Washington, several people within the president’s inner circle have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent weeks, including Vice President Kamala Harris and White House communications director Kate Bedingfield.
Masks are now optional at the White House campus, though meetings with the president are often socially distanced, officials said. White House officials have also stressed that the president is up-to-date on COVID boosters.
Someone is considered a close contact if the person was within 6 feet of an individual with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes over a 24-hour period, per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.