Updated April 6, 2022 5:11 PM ET
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland has tested positive for COVID-19, the Justice Department announced Wednesday.
The news comes hours after Garland appeared at a news conference on how the Justice Department is cracking down on Russia, which was attended by members of the media as well as other officials.
The ministry said the 69-year-old cabinet member asked to be tested after learning he may have been exposed to the virus and had no symptoms. Garland has been vaccinated and boosted, and will self-isolate at home for at least five days.
Garland attended Saturday’s Gridiron dinner, an elite event in Washington for political leaders and journalists, alongside Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Representatives Adam Schiff and Joaquin Castro, who also all tested positive.
Jamal Simmons, director of communications for Vice President Kamala Harris, also attended the dinner and tested positive. According to the White House, Simmons was in close contact with Harris, and the vice president, on the advice of the CDC, “will continue to see her doctor” and plans to continue her public agenda.
In a statement from Gridiron Club President Tom DeFrank on Wednesday afternoon, 14 diners are known to have tested positive for COVID-19.
“There is no way to be certain when they first contracted Covid,” the statement read. “But they interacted with other guests overnight and we have to be realistic and expect more cases.”
Copyright 2022 NPR. To learn more, visit https://www.npr.org.