06.02.2023

Pete Buttigieg self-isolating after security guard tests positive for Covid

New Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has entered quarantine for possible Covid-19 exposure.

Less than a week after being sworn in to lead the Biden administration’s Department of Transportation, Mr Buttigieg has been forced to self isolate for the next 14 days after a member of his security detail tested positive for Covid-19.

Transportation chief of staff Laura Schiller said in a statement that the agent tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday morning.

“The agent had been in close contact, as defined by the CDC Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, with Secretary Buttigieg, including this morning prior to the agent’s positive result,” Ms Schiller said.

“In addition to the agent, Secretary Buttigieg underwent routine PCR testing for Covid-19 this morning and Covid-19 was not detected, nor has the secretary showed any symptoms.”

Mr Buttigieg became the second openly gay member of a president’s cabinet, and first confirmed by the Senate, when he was sworn in on 3 February.

Richard Grenell was the first openly gay member of a president’s cabinet as Donald Trump’s Acting Director of National Intelligence in February 2020.

Ms Schiller said Mr Buttigieg received has already received his first Covid vaccine and would complete the second course while in quarantine. A second member of the security detail was identified as being in close contact and will also self-quarantine for the two weeks.

“Secretary Buttigieg will take all necessary steps to ensure there is no spread, including quarantining for a period of 14 days, and will continue to follow all other CDC guidelines,” Ms Schiller said.

“After the agent’s test came back positive, we initiated contact tracing protocols immediately for any DOT staff that had been in contact with that individual.”

The former South Bend Mayor touted his credentials for Secretary of Transportation when nominated in December, saying he faced a “constant battle with that natural enemy of all mayors, the pothole.”

“We also dealt with the challenges created by generations of often inadequate state and federal infrastructure funding, with just enough resources to replenish the paving of every lane, mile of street in our city only every 100 years or so,” he said in accepting the nomination.

In his testimony before the Senate, he said the Biden administration’s ambitious agenda was a “generational opportunity” to create new jobs, fight economic inequality and stem climate change.

“There is a lot of work to do to improve the infrastructure in this country, a mission that will not only keep more people safe, but also grow our economy as we look to the future,” he said last week.

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