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Sen. Coons announces positive Covid test as Washington confronts omicron surge

Seven members of Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks' traveling and advance staff have also tested positive.
Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., speaks during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Dec. 7, 2021.
Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., at a Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Dec. 7.Alex Brandon / Pool via Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., announced Thursday that he had tested positive for Covid-19 as cases of the highly transmissible omicron variant spike in Congress and the Biden administration.

Coons said in a statement that he has "minimal symptoms so far and am optimistic I will recover well after isolating and following CDC guidelines."

"Like millions of other families, it seems we’ll also be wrestling with another holiday spent on Zoom and cancelled plans for travel or gathering," said Coons, who received the positive test Wednesday evening.

The White House said this week that President Joe Biden had been in close contact with a White House staffer who later tested positive. Biden tested negative for Covid on Wednesday, the White House said in an email to reporters.

A spokesman for Coons said he has not been with Biden, formerly a senator from Delaware himself, in the last week.

The omicron variant has overtaken the delta strain as the dominant variant of the coronavirus, causing more than 73 percent of new cases in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Separately, seven members of the traveling and advance staff who accompanied Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks on a domestic trip last week have tested positive for Covid, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement.

The group visited Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Michigan, Northern Command and Space Command in Colorado, Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii, Naval Base Coronado in California and Strategic Command in Nebraska, the Pentagon said in a statement.

The first positive test from the trip came back Monday. Hicks and members of her immediate personal staff have tested negative, Kirby said.

A string of lawmakers have announced that they, too, have tested positive in recent days. They include House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., and Reps. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., and Antonio Delgado, D-N.Y., who announced their positive tests Wednesday. Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Cory Booker, D-N.J., as well as Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., said separately Sunday that they had tested positive in the rapidly spreading pandemic wave.

CORRECTION (Dec. 23, 2021, 11:05 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated the first name of a House member from New York. He is Antonio Delgado, not Anthony.