The Democratic presidential nominee tweeted on Thursday afternoon: “During our contact tracing, we discovered around noon today that a member of the company that charters my airplane has also tested positive for Covid. This crew member was on the plane with me, but was more than 50 feet away.”
He assured his followers that his most recent test, taken last night, came back negative.
“Not only was the individual 50+ feet away and wearing a mask, but I was wearing an N-95 mask,’ he added. “No members of my staff were in contact with this crew member either. My doctors have advised that there is no need for me to quarantine.”
Mr Biden said that if anything, the incident serves as an example of the importance of wearing masks and keeping a safe, social distance.
The individual flew with the former vice president to Ohio on Monday and Florida on Tuesday and sat in the last row of the Boeing 737 aircraft, while Mr Biden sat near the front, more than the standard two rows away the CDC uses when conducting contact investigations on aircraft for infectious diseases.
Since 4 October the individual had tested negative on three occasions, the last being within 24 hours of the first flight.
The news came just hours before Mr Biden was due to appear in a televised town hall-style campaign event live on ABC.
Campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon wrote in a statement that in addition to Mr Biden not needing to quarantine, “no additional precautions are indicated for the vice president”.
Earlier on Thursday, one of Senator Kamala Harris’ top aides tested positive for the virus as well as a non-campaign staff member of the flight crew.
Not only was the individual 50+ feet away and wearing a mask, but I was wearing an N-95 mask. No members of my staff were in contact with this crew member either. My doctors have advised that there is no need for me to quarantine.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) October 15, 2020
It was the contact tracing undertaken after those diagnoses that led to the discovery individual with Covid on the Biden plane.
Taking a cautious approach, the senator’s in-person events are cancelled until after the weekend.
Communications director Liz Allen tested positive on Wednesday and neither she nor the flight crew member had contact with Ms Harris within two days of their positive tests.
Neither of the individuals had contact with Mr Biden.
Ms Harris will return to a “robust and aggressive schedule of virtual campaign activities” on Monday 19 October, the campaign said in a statement.
The Biden campaign has limited in-person events and not held large scale rallies to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Donald Trump’s re-election campaign has persisted with outdoor rallies despite the danger of triggering superspreader events.