Garland, 69, is not experiencing any symptoms, but he took an antigen test Wednesday afternoon after learning he may have been exposed to the coronavirus, the department said.
“In accordance with [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines, the Attorney General will isolate at home for at least five days,” the DOJ said. “He will work virtually during this period and will return to the office following a negative test for the virus.”
Garland, who is vaccinated against COVID-19 and has received a booster dose, was the second member of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet to test positive for the virus Wednesday. Earlier, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo revealed her own diagnosis after “experiencing mild symptoms.” She is also vaccinated and boosted.
Raimondo and Garland were in attendance last Saturday night at the politician-packed Gridiron Dinner in Washington, D.C., an event that has now been linked to several cases. Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), who both attended the party, have tested positive. About half a dozen journalists and White House and National Security Council staffers have also tested positive since the event, The Washington Post reported.
Biden, who has so far managed to avoid catching COVID-19 despite being in close contact with people who have throughout his presidency, was not in attendance at the dinner.
Before testing positive, Garland held a press conference Wednesday morning to share that the DOJ is part of an international effort to investigate Russia’s possible war crimes in Ukraine, and that the department has charged one Russian oligarch with violating sanctions.