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First lady Jill Biden positive for COVID-19 days after Indiana visit

First Lady Jill Biden tests positive for COVID-19

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — First lady Jill Biden tested positive for COVID-19 less than a week after she flew to Indiana and visited Westfield High School.

The White House announced the news on Monday.

“This evening, the first lady tested positive for COVID-19. She is currently experiencing only mild symptoms. She will remain at their home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware,” the first lady’s spokesperson Elizabeth Alexander said in a statement.

President Joe Biden, 80, tested negative, according to the White House.

The 72-year-old first lady was at Westfield High School last Wednesday along with U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy.

Biden and Murthy arrived at Indianapolis International Airport and took a motorcade to Westfield for a private conversation with students about mental health resources. It was part of a series of back-to-school events that come as COVID-19 is on the rise across the United States.

Joshua Andrews, director of communications for Westfield Washington Schools, provided the below statement to News 8 on Tuesday:

“Westfield Washington Schools would like to thank First Lady Dr. Jill Biden for lending Westfield High School students her platform to promote teen mental wellness during this back-to-school season. Everyone involved in last week’s event followed all White House-led COVID-19 protocols, including testing the day before and social distancing for the 90 minutes she was in our school. We wish the First Lady a speedy recovery.”

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data from earlier in the summer showed a slight increase in hospital admissions, emergency department visits, and positive COVID-19 tests. However, the numbers are not nearly as high as in past summers.

Just last week, the Indiana Department of Health reported 17 COVID-19 deaths in a two-week period in August. The data was collected through Tuesday, Aug. 29. The state’s dashboard is updated weekly on Wednesdays. Indiana’s COVID-19 death toll rose to 25,383 on Tuesday from 25,366 on Aug. 15. 

According to CNN, there were about four new hospital admissions for every 100,000 people nationwide in the week ending Aug. 19, which is considered low in the CDC thresholds. Seven counties had high levels of COVID-19 hospitalizations. But 117 counties — about 3.6% of the country — were in the medium threshold; about a quarter of those counties were in Florida.

“How bad it’s going to get, we don’t know.  As you know this is a very unpredictable virus.  It’s shown us that over the last three and a half years,” former Chief Medical Advisor to the president, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said.

However, experts say the latest variant may not be as hard to handle this Fall. According to two teams of U.S. scientists, people who are vaccinated appear to be able to fight off the newest variant called BA.2.86, also known as “Pirola.”

The results match studies already released in China and Sweden. However, with more people testing positive at home, it’s hard for health officials to know the true numbers.

“People are more likely to know somebody who might have covid or may have had covid themselves.  But admittedly this is hard to validate because there’s just not as much testing.” CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said. 

The CDC recommends people who get COVID-19 isolate for at least five days and then wear a mask until testing negative twice over a two-day period.

Doctors also urge people to keep up to date with vaccines.

A CDC advisory meeting is scheduled for Sept. 12 that should give more information on if a new booster will be recommended to the public.

IDOH says 3,865,785 Hoosiers had completed the primary vaccination series through Tuesday, Aug. 29. That’s about 55.6% of the total population.

The White House says the president will keep testing for COVID-19 and will be monitored for any symptoms.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters in July that anyone who meets with the president is still tested for COVID-19.

Last August, the first lady tested positive for COVID-19 while vacationing in South Carolina. President Joe Biden tested positive last July. Both experienced rebound cases shortly after being treated with Paxlovid.

News 8 has reached out to Westfield High School for comment.