National Security

Barr to be tested for COVID-19 after interaction with Gohmert

Attorney General William Barr will be tested for coronavirus one day after he came into close contact with a GOP lawmaker who since tested positive for the virus, a Justice Department spokeswoman confirmed.

Barr, who testified on Capitol Hill Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee, came within close range of Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) shortly before he entered an auditorium in the Capitol where the hearing took place.

While Barr had arrived wearing a mask, he walked into the hearing room without one, during which time he came into contact with Gohmert, who also was not wearing a mask. The two exchanged a comment or two before Gohmert and Barr parted ways.

Congressional aides confirmed to The Hill that Gohmert, who has declined to wear a mask in the Capitol except when mandated for hearings, has tested positive for COVID-19.

Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said Barr will be tested on Wednesday, one day after the encounter.

“The Attorney General will be tested today,” Kupec said in a statement.

Still, health experts advise waiting a few days after exposure to get tested, to help avoid the risk of getting a false negative. 

According to Harvard Medical School, those who take a test the same day after exposure are 100 percent likely to get a false negative test result because there “are so few viral particles in your nose or saliva so soon after infection that the test cannot detect them.”

From there, the likelihood of a false negative goes down, with a 40 percent chance if a person is tested four days after exposure to the virus. And it goes down to 20 percent if a person develops “symptoms and are tested three days after those symptoms started.” 

Still, the DOJ did not respond to requests for comment about whether Barr is considering or planning to self-isolate out of an abundance of caution after coming into contact with Gohmert.

A spokesperson also did not immediately respond to a request for comment about whether Barr will receive additional tests in the coming days. 

Tags Coronavirus COVID-19 testing facial coverings House Judiciary Hearing Louie Gohmert Masks Pandemic William Barr

The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video