By Jeff Mason
REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden tested negative for COVID-19 for a second consecutive day on Sunday and ended his isolation at the White House with a trip to his vacation home in Delaware and a reunion with his wife, first lady Jill Biden.
Biden has been holed up at the White House for more than two weeks with COVID, leading to canceled trips and events even as his symptoms stayed mild.
The president tested negative on Saturday but waited until a second negative test on Sunday before ending his isolation.
"He will safely return to public engagement and presidential travel," Biden's physician, Dr. Kevin O'Connor, said in a memo.
Biden flew to Delaware on Sunday morning.
"I'm feeling good," Biden, 79, told reporters outside the White House as he was departing for Rehoboth Beach.
Biden first emerged from isolation at the White House on July 27 after testing positive for COVID-19 for the first time on July 21. He tested positive again on July 30 in what O'Connor described as a rebound case seen in a small percentage of people who take the antiviral drug Paxlovid.
Biden plans to travel to Kentucky on Monday. His return to COVID-negative status will allow him to participate in bill signings at the White House this week to celebrate recent legislative victories on semiconductor manufacturing, veterans' health, and potentially a climate and healthcare bill that was making its way through the Senate on Sunday.
Biden suffered mild symptoms, including body aches and cough, during his initial bout with COVID-19. The president is vaccinated and boosted against the disease.
During his illness, Biden has made a point of following or exceeding guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for people with COVID cases. He worked from the White House residence and enjoyed the company of his dog while the first lady stayed away to avoid infection.
Biden and his wife had not seen each other in person since he first tested positive for COVID-19.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason; additional reporting by Rami Ayyub Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky and Chizu Nomiyama)