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Attorney General Garland tests positive for COVID

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks during a press conference at the U.S. Justice Department on April 06, 2022 in Washington, DC. He tested positive for COVID-19 within hours of making remarks.
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U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks during a press conference at the U.S. Justice Department on April 06, 2022 in Washington, DC. He tested positive for COVID-19 within hours of making remarks.

Updated April 6, 2022 at 5:11 PM ET

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland has tested positive for COVID-19, the Justice Department said on Wednesday.

The news comes hours after Garland appeared at a press conference about how the Justice Department is cracking down on Russia, which was attended by members of the media as well as other officials.

The Department said the 69-year-old cabinet member asked to be tested after learning he may have been exposed to the virus and he is not experiencing symptoms. Garland has been vaccinated and boosted, and will isolate at home for at least five days.

Garland attended Saturday's Gridiron dinner, an elite event in Washington for political leaders and journalists, along with Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Representatives Adam Schiff and Joaquin Castro, who have also all tested positive as well.

Jamal Simmons, communications director for Vice President Kamala Harris, also attended the dinner and has tested positive. According to the White House, Simmons was in close contact with Harris, and the vice president, following CDC guidance, will "continue to consult with her physician" and plans to continue with her public schedule.

In a statement by Gridiron Club president Tom DeFrank on Wednesday afternoon, there are 14 dinner guests who are known to have tested positive for COVID-19.

"There is no way of being certain about when they first contracted Covid," the statement says. "But they did interact with other guests during the night and we have to be realistic and expect some more cases."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Carrie Johnson is a justice correspondent for the Washington Desk.
Lisa Lambert

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