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Biden ending ‘strict isolation measures’ after testing negative for COVID

Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz

(WASHINGTON) — President Joe Biden tested negative for COVID-19 on Tuesday night and again Wednesday morning and will end “his strict isolation measures,” according to the physician to the president, Dr. Kevin O’Connor.

The negative test comes less than one week after the president’s first positive test on Thursday morning.

Biden finished his five-day course of Paxlovid 36 hours ago, O’Connor wrote in a memo Wednesday morning that was subsequently released by the White House.

“His symptoms have been steadily improving, and are almost completely resolved,” O’Connor wrote.

The president is set to address the public from the Rose Garden later Wednesday.

He “will give remarks after his negative test about a case that was mild thanks to the tools this administration has worked hard to make available to the American people,” an administration official told reporters. “He will discuss the progress we have made against COVID and encourage eligible Americans to get vaccinated and boosted.”

The president likely had the highly contagious BA.5 subvariant, and his symptoms had included a runny nose, cough, sore throat, a slight fever and body aches. O’Connor never reported any abnormalities in Biden’s pulse, blood pressure, respiratory rate or oxygen saturation throughout his infection.

Biden told reporters Monday that all his test results were “good” and “on the button.”

Biden will now end his strict isolation measures after being confined to the White House residence since his diagnosis. Biden continued to work in isolation, posting a photograph on Twitter Monday of him and his dog, Commander, saying he “took some calls this morning with man’s best co-worker.”

The president tweeted a picture of his negative test on Wednesday and said that he’s returning to the Oval Office.

Biden “continues to be very specifically conscientious to protect any of the Executive Residence, White House, Secret Service and other staff whose duties require any (albeit socially distanced) proximity to him,” O’Connor wrote in his memo on Wednesday. “For this reason, he will wear a well-fitting mask for 10 full days any time he is around others.”

Biden will increase his testing cadence in light of the possibility of a Paxlovid “rebound,” O’Connor wrote, referring to a seemingly rare but increasingly reported phenomenon in which COVID symptoms recur or there is the development of a new positive viral test after having tested negative.

The president is fully vaccinated and has received two booster shots, but at the age of 79 was considered to be at a higher risk for severe illness.

Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, stressed after Biden’s diagnosis that all Americans should take advantage of vaccinations and treatments courses.

“This is a president who’s double-vaccinated, double-boosted, getting treatments that are widely available to Americans and has at this moment a mild respiratory illness,” Jha told ABC’s This Week on Sunday. “This is really good news, and this is both vaccines and treatments that are available to everyone. Really important that people go out and get vaccinated and avail themselves of these treatments if they get infected.”

First lady Jill Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris both tested negative for COVID-19 after spending time with the president before his diagnosis.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

ABC News’ Tal Axelrod, Ben Gittleson, Alexandra Hutzler and Arielle Mitropoulos contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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