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DHS Secretary Mayorkas cancels in-person events over Covid fears

POLITICO logo POLITICO 7/27/2021 By Daniel Lippman and Betsy Woodruff Swan
a man wearing a suit and tie: Alejandro Mayorkas speaks during an event. © Joe Raedle/Getty Images Alejandro Mayorkas speaks during an event.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is working remotely because he was in contact with a department official who later tested positive for Covid-19, a DHS spokesperson told POLITICO.

“Secretary Mayorkas has a virtual schedule this week after coming into close contact with a DHS official who later tested positive for COVID-19,” DHS spokesperson Marsha Espinosa said in a statement. “The Secretary is fully vaccinated, has no symptoms, and has tested negative twice. Official DHS contact tracing is underway. These recommendations have been informed by the Office of the DHS Chief Medical Officer and are taken in an overabundance of caution.”

When asked how many other DHS officials were exposed to the coronavirus and whether they were also quarantining, Espinosa said the department was abiding by CDC guidance but didn‘t provide details.

The news comes as the Delta variant of the virus threatens to reverse some of America’s hard-won gains to contain the pandemic. Mayorkas’ virtual work is likely to complicate his job this week, as it often involves significant travel and in-person meetings. He postponed a “State of Homeland Security” speech he was supposed to give on Thursday, according to an administration official.

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