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Secretary of State Blinken tests positive for COVID-19; Biden not considered close contact

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WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Antony Blinken tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday and is experiencing "mild symptoms," the State Department's chief spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

Blinken, who is fully vaccinated and boosted, has not seen President Joe Biden in person "for several days," Price said. He added that Biden is not considered "a close contact" under CDC guidelines.

Blinken took a PCR test on Wednesday because he was experiencing symptoms, Price said.

Prior to being tested, Blinken had a bilateral meeting with Sweden’s foreign minister. He also held several meetings on Tuesday, including one with Mexico’s foreign secretary.

Price said the State Department is in the process of notifying anyone considered a close contact, but he would not specifically say who had been told of his positive result.

Blinken will isolate at home and maintain "a virtual work schedule," Price said. "He looks forward to returning to the Department and resuming his full duties and travels as soon as possible."

Blinken was scheduled to deliver a high-profile speech on Thursday outlining the Biden administration’s China policy but Price said that will be postponed.

Blinken's positive test comes after he attended the White House Correspondents Dinner on Saturday, a soirée attended by journalists, politicians and other Washington movers and shakers.

A spate of other high-profile administration officials and lawmakers have tested positive for the coronavirus in recent weeks including Vice President Kamala Harris, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Attorney General Merrick Garland.

Many contracted the virus after attending the Gridiron Dinner, another swanky affair that hundreds of politicians, reporters and media executives flocked to last month as COVID restrictions eased. Attendees were required to be vaccinated but a negative test was not required

Biden did not attend the Gridiron but he go to last weekend's White House Correspondents' Dinner. Attendees of that event were required to be vaccinated, boosted and have a negative test the day of the event.

Secretary Blinken spars with Senator Paul over Russia's invasion into Ukraine
Secretary Blinken spars with Senator Paul over Russia's invasion into Ukraine

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Secretary of State Antony Blinken tests positive for COVID-19