Buttigieg to Quarantine After Security Agent Gets COVID-19

WASHINGTON (AP) -
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg walks to an escalator as he leaves Union Station after speaking in Washington, Friday, Feb. 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will quarantine for 14 days after a member of his security detail tested positive Monday for the coronavirus.

The agent had been “in close contact” with Buttigieg, including Monday morning prior to the agent’s positive result, the Transportation Department said in a statement. Buttigieg has since tested negative and has had no symptoms.

“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,” said Laura Schiller, the department’s chief of staff, referring to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “He received the first dose of the vaccination in recent weeks, and will receive the second dose when his quarantine is completed.”

Following contact tracing protocols, the department said it determined that one other person in the security detail had also been in “close contact” with the agent and will also quarantine for 14 days.

The CDC defines close contact as being within six feet of someone for a total of at least 15 minutes “over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset.”

Buttigieg, 39, a former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and a former Democratic presidential candidate, was sworn in last week as transportation secretary.

He has pledged in his first weeks to quickly get to work promoting COVID-19 safety and restoring consumer trust in America’s transportation networks during the pandemic. He met with transit workers at Washington’s Union Station on Friday.

“We will continue to prioritize safety as the foundation of everything we do,” Buttigieg told department employees in an email message last week.