Garland, 69, is experiencing no symptoms but asked to be tested after learning he may have been exposed to the virus, the department said. He is fully vaccinated and potentiated.
“In accordance with CDC guidelines, the attorney general will self-isolate at home for at least five days,” the Justice Department said in a statement. “He will be working virtually during this period and will return to the office following a negative test for the virus. The department will conduct contact tracing in accordance with CDC protocols.”
Garland is the latest high-profile Washington figure to test positive for COVID-19 in recent days. Another member of President Joe Biden’s cabinet, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, said Wednesday that she had tested positive after attending the Gridiron dinner in Washington over the weekend, and Democratic Reps. Joaquin Castro and Adam Schiff also announced positive results.
The Commerce Department said in a statement Wednesday that Raimondo is “experiencing mild symptoms” but is “confident that the vaccine has prevented him from experiencing more significant symptoms.”
Last month, Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff tested positive for the virus, marking the first known case of Covid-19 among the first or second family since President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took office in January 2021.
Inside the White House, in accordance with federal public health guidelines, officials and visitors are not required to wear masks or social distance. Visitors are expected to be tested for Covid-19 before attending official White House events.
Covid-19 cases in Washington, DC, have declined since their peak in early January, when the country was facing a wave of cases of the Omicron variant.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden’s top medical adviser and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Wednesday that he believes there will be a spike in Covid-19 cases in the US in the coming weeks, and that it is likely that there could be an increase in the fall.
“I think we should expect … that over the next two weeks, we’re going to see a spike in cases. And hopefully there’s enough background immunity that we don’t end up with a lot of hospitalizations,” Fauci said. he said, when asked by David Westin of Bloomberg TV about the possibility of another wave of BA.2 Covid-19 or another variant, given the level of immunity believed to exist in the US today.
This story has been updated with additional details.
CNN’s MJ Lee and Naomi Thomas contributed to this report.