Biden Adviser Tests Positive for COVID-19

December 18, 2020 Updated: December 18, 2020

An adviser to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden tested positive for the Chinese Community Party (CCP) virus, Biden’s team said on Thursday.

Biden spokeswoman Kate Bedingfield said in a statement that Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.)—tapped to be the White House senior adviser and director of the office of public engagement should Biden win the presidency—tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

Richmond traveled to Atlanta, Georgia on Tuesday for a drive-in rally in support of Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock ahead of the Jan. 5 Senate run-offs that could determine which party controls the Senate. Biden was in attendance and spoke at the same event.

Richmond experienced symptoms on Wednesday and took a rapid test which came back positive for COVID-19, Biden’s team said. Richmond then took a PCR test on Thursday, 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 announcement read.

The CDC is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Representative Cedric Richmond
Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) speaks during a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, on June 17, 2020. (Sarah Silbiger/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

Richmond plans to quarantine for 14 days and will take PCR tests until two come back negative before he returns to any in-person work.

Biden did not test positive for the CCP virus after PCR testing on Thursday, Bedingfield said. She said Richmond was not in close contact with Biden.

“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,” Bedingfield said.

She said that Richmond’s interactions with Biden “happened in open air, were masked and totaled less than 15 consecutive minutes, the CDC’s timeframe for close contact. She also said Richmond traveled separately from Biden to Atlanta.

The news comes after a reporter who traveled with Biden was confirmed to have tested positive for the CCP virus on Wednesday. The unnamed reporter was working as part of the Biden press pool on Monday and Tuesday, and had also traveled to Georgia with Biden on Tuesday.

Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.

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