According to a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spokeswoman, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas tested positive for a COVID-19 breakthrough case on Tuesday.

According to Marsha Espinosa, assistant secretary of public affairs at DHS, Mayorkas was tested for the virus as part of routine pre-travel protocols. He was preparing to travel to Colombia with Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Mayorkas is suffering from mild congestion and will continue to work from home. Espinosa stated that the department is currently conducting contact tracing.

“Secretary Mayorkas tested positive this morning for the COVID-19 virus after taking a test as part of routine pre-travel protocols. Secretary Mayorkas is experiencing only mild congestion; he is fully vaccinated and will isolate and work at home per CDC protocols and medical advice. Contact tracing is underway,” Espinosa said in a statement.

Mayorkas in close contact to Biden?

According to the White House, the most recent contact he had with White House officials was on Saturday at the National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service, where President Biden spoke.

While it was not clear what sort of contact the two men had, Biden mentioned Mayorkas by name at the event, Fox News reported.

“To Secretary of Homeland Security Mayorkas, thank you for being here and for the great job you’re doing for us,” Biden said. “Thank you very, very much.  And it’s a tough job.”

Additionally, images from the event show Mayorkas stood close to Biden and first lady Jill Biden at one point during the outdoor event, without masks.

Mayorkas stood close to Biden and first lady Jill Biden at one point during the outdoor event, without masks.
Washington, D.C. (October 16, 2021) Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, alongside leaders from across the Federal Government, including President Joe Biden, attends the Annual National Police Officers’ Memorial Service at the U.S. Capitol. (DHS Photo by Benjamin Applebaum)

But the White House said that no White House principal had been determined to be a close contact of Secretary Mayorkas.

Mayorkas’ positive test follows the announcement late last month by State Department spokesman Ned Price that he tested positive for a COVID-19 breakthrough case after experiencing symptoms.

A number of fully vaccinated lawmakers on Capitol Hill have also tested positive for the virus, including Rep. Joseph Morelle (D-N.Y.), Rep. Darren Soto (D-Fla.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines breakthrough cases as fully inoculated individuals who test positive for the virus.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell also tested positive for a COVID-19 breakthrough case. Powell’s family announced on Monday that he died from COVID-19 complications.