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Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo Tests Positive for Covid After Attending Politician-Packed D.C. Gridiron Dinner

Andrew Harnik | Reuters
  • Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo tested positive for Covid on Wednesday, her office said.
  • President Joe Biden is not considered a close contact to Raimondo, a Commerce spokesperson told CNBC.
  • Raimondo and hundreds of others attended the Gridiron Club and Foundation dinner four days earlier.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo tested positive for Covid on Wednesday, making her the latest official to catch the virus after attending a swanky D.C. dinner packed with politicians and journalists.

Raimondo tested positive with an at-home antigen test after "experiencing mild symptoms," the Commerce Department said in a statement. She is fully vaccinated and boosted, and her office has initiated contact tracing steps, the statement said. Raimondo will isolate for five days and work from home, Commerce said.

President Joe Biden, who has managed to avoid Covid after multiple close aides tested positive, is not considered a close contact to Raimondo, a Commerce spokesperson told CNBC. The spokesperson declined to discuss where Raimondo may have contracted the virus.

Four days ago, Raimondo and hundreds of others attended the Gridiron Club and Foundation dinner, a traditional gathering for D.C. VIPs, at the four-star Renaissance Hotel in downtown Washington. Normally an annual event, the Gridiron dinner Saturday night was the first one to be held since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

The dinner features prominent politicians, including U.S. presidents, delivering sarcastic jokes usually aimed at other lawmakers and the press. Republican New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu made headlines for his speech, in which he reportedly called former President Donald Trump "f------ crazy."

"I don't think he's so crazy that you could put him in a mental institution. But I think if he were in one, he ain't getting out!" Sununu reportedly said.

Biden reportedly did not go to the dinner, but sent in a video with some lighthearted remarks.

In the days after the dinner, multiple politicians who reportedly attended have announced positive Covid tests.

Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, said Tuesday that he tested positive and is feeling mild symptoms.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., revealed his own positive test Tuesday night, adding, "I'm feeling fine, and grateful to be vaccinated and boosted."

Politico reported Wednesday morning that multiple reporters who attended the event have since tested positive for the virus, as well. The Gridiron Club did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.

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