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Vaccinated DHS Sec. Mayorkas tests positive for COVID

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas participates in a virtual conference Feb. 23, 2021. (Department of Homeland Security/Released)
October 19, 2021

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates as more information becomes available.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who is vaccinated against COVID-19, has tested positive for the virus Tuesday.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spokesperson Marsha Espinosa announced Mayorkas’ positive COVID-19 test results on Tuesday, CNN reported.

“Secretary Mayorkas tested positive this morning for the COVID-19 virus after taking a test as part of routine pre-travel protocols,” Espinosa said. “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.”

On Friday, Mayorkas attended the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Valor Memorial and Wreath Laying Ceremony, which honors CBP officers who lost their lives in the line of duty, CNBC reported.

Mayorkas joined President Joe Biden, First Lady Jill Biden and other high-ranking officials at the annual National Police Officers’ Memorial Service at the U.S. Capitol. In photos from the event, Mayorkas could be seen standing just feet from Biden while they were both unmasked.

Earlier on Tuesday, Mayorkas spoke at the Eradicate Hate Global Summit in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Mayorkas was also scheduled to travel to Colombia with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, but will now work from home instead.

While the COVID-19 vaccines are meant to help prevent recipients from catching the virus, so-called “breakthrough” cases aren’t uncommon. Former Army general and Secretary of State Colin Powell was fully vaccinated but experienced a breakthrough COVID-19 case and died of what his family described as coronavirus complications on Monday. Powell had been fighting a form of blood cancer known as multiple myeloma, which can weaken one’s immune system.

A vaccinated senior aide for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) experienced a breakthrough COVID case in July. A vaccinated White House aide also reportedly tested positive during the same time period in July.