Vice President Kamala Harris is continuing her Los Angeles-area visit Sunday despite several members of her staff having close contact with an advance team member who later tested positive for COVID-19.
“On Friday night, during the drive from the airport in Los Angeles to the hotel in Los Angeles, several members of the vice president’s staff were close contacts with a member of the advance team who has since tested positive for COVID,” according to a White House official quoted Saturday by reporter Rob Crilly.
“No members of the media were close contacts with this individual and the vice president was not a close contact with this individual. The staff members will not travel with the vice president on Monday. So, her trip is still going forward but those staff members who were close contacts are not going to travel with her.”
Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff , have been in Los Angeles since late Friday afternoon for a weekend stay at their home in Brentwood.
Soon after he arrival, Harris joined Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Gov. Gavin Newsom in San Bernardino for a briefing on state and federal efforts to prevent and mitigate wildfires.
During a press conference at the U.S. Forest Service’s Del Rosa Fire Station in San Bernardino, she announced plans for the federal government to provide California with $600 million to help the state recover from a destructive wildfire season and prepare for more of the same in the future.
“It is about recognizing that we cannot, as a government or as a society or people who care, only respond in reaction to a moment of harm or danger,” Harris said. “We must also be able to use technology and common sense and the expertise of those on the ground to understand we have the tools to predict these wildfires ahead of time.”
The money is part of a $1.3-billion set aside from the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill approved by the U.S. Congress last year to help local communities clean up hazardous materials, restore forests and repair infrastructure damaged by wildfires.
“Since we know that climate change is going to increase the likelihood of these mega wildfires here in California and across the western United States,” Harris said, “it’s important to start thinking ahead and getting out in front of these crises rather than just being in a reactive pose.”
While Harris was in San Bernardino Friday, Emhoff took part in a service activity with AmeriCorps at a Los Angeles-area food bank where he spoke with volunteers and helped pack food bags before attending a private meeting with area legal aid providers.
The pair have no other scheduled public appearances for the remainder of their weekend stay in the Southland. They are scheduled to return to Washington, D.C., on Monday.