Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will quarantine for 14 days after a member of his security detail tested positive for Covid-19, department chief of staff Laura Schiller said in a statement.
Schiller’s statement says the agent has been in “close contact” with Buttigieg as recently as Monday morning. Buttigieg tested negative Monday and has not shown any symptoms, the statement said.
Buttigieg has received his first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, and Schiller said he will receive the second dose when he completes the quarantine period.
An additional member of the security team will also quarantine due to close contact with the agent.
Buttigieg told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Monday that both he and the agent who had tested positive felt fine.
“I did have a negative test today and I feel fine,” Buttigieg said on “Erin Burnett OutFront.” “I spoke to the agent and he feels all right as well. He’s not having any symptoms but he did test positive.”
“Of course, as it is for so many Americans that have been through this, frustrating to be confined to quarters, especially frustrating to be separated from my husband, who was not exposed when I was,” Buttigieg added. “But making sure we do the right thing, and thankfully I’m among the Americans who is fortunate to be able do that job from home.”
Burnett also brought up Buttigieg’s prior comments that the Biden administration is considering a rule that would require negative Covid-19 test results for domestic air travel, with the transportation secretary telling Axios on Sunday that “there’s an active conversation with the CDC right now.”
When asked Monday how close such a rule was to being enacted, Buttigieg replied, “I would say that the CDC is looking at all its options, but there has got to be common sense, medicine and science really driving this, and what we know is that it’s the appropriate measure for international travel.”
He has previously expressed a commitment to combating the virus.
Buttigieg said last month during his confirmation hearing that the Biden administration will look at “all relevant authorities” at its disposal for a federal mask mandate on all forms of transportation.
“We are prepared to make sure that we use all relevant authorities to enforce the President’s executive order to ensure that across all modes of transportation, workers, passengers, commuters are protected,” Buttigieg told Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts during his hearing before the Senate’s Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
Ten days later, the Department of Homeland Security said Transportation Security Administration workers had been given the authority to enforce President Joe Biden’s transportation mask mandate “at TSA screening checkpoints and throughout the commercial and public transportation system.”
Buttigieg also discussed the President’s Covid-19 relief bill Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” and defended it against criticism that it’s “too big,” telling George Stephanopoulos that the greatest risk is “doing too little.”
Buttigieg also was asked Sunday whether it was a mistake not to include the airline payroll protection extension next month as airlines warn of massive furloughs. He said he’s been speaking with airlines and if that relief is not in the final stimulus bill, it will be looked at outside of the bill.
This story has been updated with Buttigieg’s comments in a CNN interview.