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'Big Brother' Season 23 Housemate Christie Valdiserri Tests Positive for COVID-19, Replaced by Claire Rehfuss

Jul. 6 2021, Published 6:58 a.m. ET

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A last-minute change! Big Brother confirmed ahead of the season 23 premiere that Christie Valdiserri will no longer be appearing on the show after testing positive for COVID-19. She has been replaced by Claire Rehfuss.

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The 27-year-old opened up about her exit in an Instagram video, having been announced on Thursday, July 1, as one of the 16 chosen houseguests this season to compete for the $500,000 grand prize.

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"So, I don't want to be sharing this news, but I tested positive for COVID and I have no idea how I got it. I have the vaccine and I've been following all the guidelines up to this point. I have absolutely no symptoms. I feel perfectly fine. So I'm really grateful for that, but it's really frustrating because I won't be playing in Big Brother this summer," she said in the clip.

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"I just have to say that when you’re faced with adversity, just telling myself it’s for a bigger reason and I want to believe that. I don’t know the reason yet. I’ve had a roller coaster of emotions the last 48 hours and as I’ve been reading through all the comments online, whether they’re good or bad, I just have to say, I put myself out there and shared this vulnerability of being bald and all the comments, good or bad, are affecting everybody else that also is bald, and experiences this vulnerability," she said of her alopecia.

"So spread love. And whether you’re just finding out about Alopecia or you know what Alopecia is, you know that we’re unstoppable. And I’m going to bounce back in one way or another," Valdiserri said.

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Fans took to the comments to offer their support.

big brother season  housemate christie valdiserri covid  replaced claire rehfuss
Source: @BIGBROTHERCBS/INSTAGRAM
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"this absolutely sucks for her i hope she can get another chance to play," one user lamented.

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"Noooooo I was really excited to see her!!" another said.

"bring her back next season," a third user suggested.

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Valdiserri's replacement, Rehfuss, is a 25-year-old AI engineer who plans on trying "to get out the strong alpha dudes early."

Big Brother season 23 will premiere on Wednesday, July 7, at 8 p.m. ET with a 90-minute special before beginning to air on Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. from Sunday, July 11.

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