Homeland Security chief contracts COVID-19

Mayorkas, who is fully vaccinated, has reported 'mild' symptoms

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing in May.  (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing in May. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted October 19, 2021 at 4:24pm

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who is fully vaccinated, testified positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday morning and was experiencing mild symptoms, according to a department spokesperson.

Marsha Espinosa, the Department of Homeland Security spokesperson, said Mayorkas tested positive “after taking a test as part of routine pre-travel protocols.”

The test was conducted ahead of a trip Mayorkas planned to take Tuesday to Colombia with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, according to Espinosa.

“Secretary Mayorkas is experiencing only mild congestion; he is fully vaccinated and will isolate and work at home per CDC protocols and medical advice. Contact tracing is underway,” she said in a statement.

Mayorkas also was slated to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday for a hearing titled “Oversight of the Department of Homeland Security.” It’s unclear whether that hearing will be postponed or conducted virtually.

Mayorkas is the latest public figure in Washington to announce a mild or asymptomatic case of COVID-19. Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, who is also fully vaccinated, announced earlier this month he had tested positive for COVID-19 and was asymptomatic.

[Justice Brett Kavanaugh tests positive for COVID-19]

Several fully vaccinated lawmakers, including Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, who is running for Senate, have also disclosed they tested positive for COVID-19.

On Monday, former Secretary of State Colin Powell died of complications from COVID-19. He was fully vaccinated, his assistant said.