Representative Cedric L. Richmond, Democrat of Louisiana and one of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s closest advisers, has tested positive for the coronavirus and has started a 14-day quarantine, a spokeswoman for the transition said Thursday evening.
Mr. Richmond, who has been a lawmaker since 2011, is the first announced member of Mr. Biden’s White House staff to test positive. He is slated to join Mr. Biden’s administration as a senior adviser and director of the Office of Public Engagement. A rapid test for the virus on Wednesday was positive, the transition said, and a more precise test on Thursday was also positive.
Kate Bedingfield, the spokeswoman, said in a statement that Mr. Richmond, who developed symptoms of Covid-19 on Wednesday, has not been in close contact with Mr. Biden in recent days despite having attended a campaign rally in Georgia on Tuesday for two Senate candidates where Mr. Biden delivered remarks.
Mr. Biden tested negative for the virus on Thursday, Ms. Bedingfield said.
“The protocols we have followed are consistent with protocols we followed during the campaign to ensure the safety of everyone involved,” she said in the statement. “We take all precautions possible, follow the best guidance of public health officials and remain committed to transparency and information sharing when positive tests do arise.”
Photos of Mr. Cedric from the event in Georgia show him standing close to other staff and advisers of the campaign, and in one shot, he is seen bumping forearms with another person. He is wearing a mask and is outside in all of the images.
The transition said that Mr. Richmond had spent less than 15 minutes close to Mr. Biden on Tuesday, but that the interactions “happened in open air, were masked and totaled less than 15 consecutive minutes, the C.D.C.’s time frame for close contact.”
She said two people who drove the car that Mr. Richmond traveled in for the campaign event have been notified of his positive test. In addition to the two-week quarantine, Mr. Richmond will also have to receive two negative PCR tests — the more precise tests — before returning to work on the transition, she said.
Ms. Bedingfield said that neither Jon Ossoff or the Rev. Raphael Warnock, the two Democratic candidates at the rally on Tuesday, nor their staff, were in close contact with Mr. Richmond. She added that other local officials at the event also did not have close contact with him.
The announcement from the transition team about Mr. Richmond’s positive test contrasted sharply with the approach taken by President Trump and his aides over the past several months as several Covid-19 outbreaks swept through the West Wing.
Mr. Trump’s White House shared little information about who was infected and when they were tested, often citing health privacy rules. One outbreak infected several members of Vice President Mike Pence’s staff. Another, at the end of September, infected lawmakers, journalists and the president himself.
The White House physician and top aides to the president did not initially inform the public of Mr. Trump’s positive test and released limited information about Mr. Trump’s condition, even after he was taken by helicopter to the hospital. Several aides to Mr. Trump, including Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, continued working after being exposed to colleagues who tested positive. Ms. McEnany later tested positive herself.