WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) – Attorney General Merrick Garland has tested positive for COVID-19 and will be in home quarantine for five days, the Justice Department said Wednesday.
Garland is the second cabinet official to declare a positive test result on Wednesday. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo also tested positive for the virus using an at-home antigen test.
The Justice Department’s announcement comes hours after Garland held a news conference in Washington, with the deputy attorney general, FBI director and other Justice Department officials standing side by side.
The Justice Department says Garland asked for the test “after learning he may have been exposed to the virus.” Officials say he is not experiencing symptoms, has been fully vaccinated and has received a booster.
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The Justice Department said Garland would isolate at his home for at least five days and work remotely. The department said it would also do contact tracing in line with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Raimondo’s office said she was experiencing “mild symptoms” and was sharing the news “out of an abundance of transparency”.
Garland and Raimondo both attended the annual Gridiron Club dinner in Washington last weekend. The virus has begun to spread across the nation’s capital, killing not only cabinet officials but also members of Congress, White House staff and members of the media.
Reps. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Democrat Joaquin Castro of Texas have also announced that they have tested positive for the virus. Both had attended dinner.
Other members of Congress, including Reps. Katherine Clark of Massachusetts and Scott Peters of California, both Democrats, have also said they have tested positive.