Indian American Attorney General in New Jersey quarantined at home COVID exposure


New Jersey’s attorney general announced that he would be quarantining himself at home after a staff member tested positive for the coronavirus, a spokesperson announced Wednesday, Nov. 11.

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal immediately took a ‘rapid test’ that came back positive, but that a different follow-up test returned a negative result, according to spokesman Steven Barnes.

Grewal currently is asymptomatic and is following federal and state health guidance and quarantining at home while officials notify everyone who may have come into contact with him during the potential infection window. Grewal came into contact with the staff member at the workplace Monday, Barnes said.

Rapid tests check if someone’s immune system appears to be fighting a coronavirus, according to Stephanie Silvera, a public health professor and epidemiologist at Montclair State University. In contrast, PCR tests are looking for the coronavirus’ genetic material.

“It is possible that he’s at the early stage” of COVID-19, Silvera said of the different test results. “It could also just be a random error.”

Gov. Phil Murphy said in a tweet Wednesday that he was keeping Grewal in his prayers. Murphy communications director Mahen Gunaratna said the governor hadn’t been in contact with Grewal.

Barnes says the attorney general will continue to perform his duties virtually while quarantined.

The department of law and public safety, which is part of the attorney general’s office, is contact tracing everyone in close contact with Grewal, according to the press release.