Congressman Cedric Richmond, a close adviser to President-elect Joe Biden, has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the transition team.
He developed symptoms on Wednesday and took a rapid test which came out positive, transition spokeswoman Kate Bedingfield said on Thursday.
Richmond, 47, has been named as the White House Senior Adviser and Director of the Office of Public Engagement in the incoming Biden administration.
“Richmond was not in close contact, as defined by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), with the President-elect. President-elect Biden underwent PCR testing for COVID-19 today and COVID-19 was not detected,” Bedingfield said.
On December 15, Richmond travelled to Georgia for a campaign event with the Ossoff and Warnock campaigns.
Neither the candidates nor any member of the Ossoff or Warnock campaign teams were in close contact with Richmond, nor were Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Stacey Abrams or Nikema Williams, who also attended the Tuesday event, she said.
Richmond's interactions with the President-elect happened in open air, were masked and totalled less than 15 consecutive minutes, the CDC's timeframe for close contact. Richmond travelled to Georgia on his own and not with Biden, she said.
“As is our standard protocol, after an initial positive test, he took a PCR test on Thursday, December 17, which also came back positive. After his rapid test came back positive, we initiated contact tracing protocols immediately, and have determined that he was in CDC-defined close contact with two individuals, neither of whom are Biden, Warnock or Ossoff staff.
"Those individuals, two people who drove his car during the campaign trip, have been notified and are self-quarantining consistent with CDC guidelines,” the spokesperson said.
Richmond will quarantine for a period of 14 days and will produce two negative PCR tests before he returns to any in-person work in Congress or on the transition.
“The protocols we have followed are consistent with protocols we followed during the campaign to ensure the safety of everyone involved. We take all precautions possible, follow the best guidance of public health officials and remain committed to transparency and information sharing when positive tests do arise. We will continue to model this behaviour at every opportunity,” she said.