Sen. Thom Tillis tests positive for COVID-19; Cunningham to get tested

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Saturday, October 3, 2020
Sen. Thom Tillis tests positive for COVID-19
Sen. Thom Tillis tests positive for COVID-19. His challenger, Cal Cunningham, will also get tested.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Sen. Thom Tillis, R-NC, released a statement saying he has tested positive for COVID-19, the same day President Donald Trump was taken to a hospital as a cautionary measure Friday.

"Over the last few months, I've been routinely tested for COVID-19, including testing negative last Saturday, but tonight my rapid antigen test came back positive," Tillis said. "I will be following the recommendations of my doctor and will be self-isolating at home for 10 days and notifying those I've been in close contact with. Thankfully, I have no symptoms and I feel well. As we all know, COVID-19 is a very contagious and deadly virus, especially because many carriers are asymptomatic. I encourage all North Carolinians to follow the recommendations of medical experts, including wearing a mask, washing hands, and practicing social distancing. For any North Carolinian who believes they were exposed to the virus or starts to display symptoms, please call your doctor, self-isolate, and get tested to protect those around you."

Tillis met with Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barret on Tuesday. He then traveled back to North Carolina where he was on the debate stage last night.

He also attended the Rose Garden ceremony on Saturday where President Trump announced Barrett as his pick for Supreme Court justice.

Sen. Thom Tillis debates challenger Cal Cunningham on Thursday night in Raleigh.
Gerry Broome

Back in August, Tillis came under controversy for not wearing a mask on the White House South Lawn and issued an apology after his Democratic opponent Cal Cunningham questioned his decision.

Tillis for Senate campaign manager Luke Blanchat issued a statement following Friday's developments:

"Our campaign notified the Cunningham campaign and Spectrum News of Senator Tillis' positive COVID-19 test immediately after he received the results. The Tillis campaign staffers who were exposed to the Senator this week will now quarantine and will receive tests in the coming days. Our Charlotte campaign headquarters is now closed and we are halting all in-person campaign events until further notice. Additionally, we are reaching out to any individuals who may have come into contact with Senator Tillis during the campaign events we held this week."

Cunningham said Friday on Twitter that he wishes Tillis a quick recovery and said he was thinking of him and his family.

"Because I was with Senator Tillis recently on the debate stage, I will also get tested," Cunningham said.

Spectrum News, which hosted the debate said it is notifying workers who were involved with the political event.

"We've just learned of the news and are in the process of notifying employees individually," Spectrum said. "Spectrum News staff followed appropriate safety protocols for the debate, and affected employees who were in close contact with the Senator will follow CDC guidelines and quarantine and/or undergo testing as appropriate. We wish the Senator and all people affected by COVID-19 a speedy recovery."

Tillis is the second Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee to test positive and enter isolation following Sen. Mike Lee of Utah.