CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Two people connected to the Biden campaign have tested positive for COVID-19, scrapping Kamala Harris' planned travel to Charlotte Thursday.
Instead, Harris will hold a virtual event, with Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles, Congresswoman Alma Adams, and leaders across the state to celebrate the first day of in-person early voting. A press release says Sen. Harris will “emphasize the ease of voting early in North Carolina and fire up voters less than three weeks away from the November election.”
A Thursday statement from Biden for President Campaign Manager Jen O’Malley Dillon says Sen. Harris' communications director, Liz Allen, and a non-staff flight crew member have the virus. “Senator Harris was not in close contact, as defined by the CDC, with either of these individuals during the two days prior to their positive tests," a letter from the campaign reads.
Out of an abundance of caution, the campaign is canceling Harris’s travel through Sunday, October 18. The canceled travel includes Harris' planned visit to North Carolina Thursday.
Harris planned to first travel to Asheville before appearing at two events in Charlotte.
Dillon says Harris will keep an “aggressive” schedule of virtual campaign activities to reach voters across the country.
“Neither of these people have had contact with Vice President Biden, Senator Harris or any other staffers since testing positive or in the 48 hours prior to their positive test results,” the letter from Dillon states. The individuals who tested positive for the virus were on a flight with Harris on October 8.
According to the Dillon, the individuals and Harris all wore N95 masks, and Harris was not within 6 feet of the individuals for more than 15 minutes. Tests taken before and after the flight were negative, according to the letter.
“Late last night, I learned a non-staff flight crew member & a member of my team tested positive for COVID. I wasn’t in close contact—as defined by the CDC—with either during the 2 days prior to their positive tests,” Harris tweeted Thursday.
“Senator Harris has taken 2 PCR tests since October 8th, and the tests all have been negative, most recently on Wednesday, October 14th. All other members of our staff on the flight have also taken routine tests since October 8th (two to three PCRs each); all of these tests have also been negative,” Dillon states.
Harris' North Carolina was planned the same day early voting began across the state.
According to the campaign, Harris planned to deliver remarks at an early vote launch mobilization event in Asheville at 11:30 a.m.
She then planned to head to Charlotte to participate in a campaign hub grand opening at 2:40 p.m. before participating in a voter mobilization event “to encourage North Carolinians to make their plan to vote early” at 6:35 p.m.
“I think it certainly fits into the narrative that the Biden campaign is taking COVID-19 seriously and that, you know, probably for most Democrats, they are supportive of her having to cancel these out of an abundance of caution," said Catawba College political scientist Dr. Michael Bitzer. "It’s certainly deflates some public media attention, free media that the campaign was hoping for. In these days, all media is precious, but a lot of voters have already made up their minds.”
“I am excited and humbled to share I will be welcoming and publicly introducing Sen. @KamalaHarris as she comes to Charlotte tomorrow for an event. It is not lost on me the history of this moment of two people with divergent histories coming together for a better future,” Lee tweeted.
On Friday, Harris shared a video message to N.C. voters about making a plan to vote early.
“We have been waiting for this moment for nearly four years: the chance to vote for a new president and a brighter future for our country. And you have a few easy and convenient ways to vote early and make sure your voice is heard. So let’s make a plan,” Harris says in the video. “First, vote-by-mail is already underway...You can also vote early in-person, starting October 15th. Either way, you’ll be one of the first voters to move our country forward.”
In late September, Harris participated in a “Sister to Sister meets Shop Talk” roundtable in Raleigh where she heard from Black North Carolinians and highlighted the importance of voting and making a change.
Her visit came the day before the first presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio.