North Carolina Sen. Tillis says he has no COVID-19 symptoms

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina said Monday that he’s regained his senses of taste and smell, recovering from symptoms of COVID-19 after testing positive late last week.

“I feel great,” Tillis tweeted, adding that while he’s no longer exhibiting any symptoms, he will continue to self-isolate. Tillis said he and his wife “remain grateful for the outpouring of prayers and well wishes we have received from North Carolinians.”

Tillis is among several people who tested positive for the coronavirus days after attending the Supreme Court nomination ceremony for Amy Coney Barrett at the White House on Sept. 26.

Tillis was wearing a mask during the outside ceremony and has supported mask use. A New York Times photo taken inside the White House showed a maskless Tillis speaking to Barrett.

Tillis, a Republican seeking reelection, has temporary halted in-person campaigning, and several campaign staff went into quarantine.

[Tillis apologizes for failing to keep mask on at White House during RNC]

Tillis posted on Facebook that he and his wife are grateful for the prayers and well-wishes they’ve received. He plans to quarantine for 10 days.

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Statement:

"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.

"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.”

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Tillis' announcement came hours after President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for the coronavirus.

Tillis is the latest person to be diagnosed with the virus after attending the Supreme Court nomination ceremony in the White House Rose Garden for Amy Coney Barrett. Tillis was wearing a mask at the ceremony.

He is the second member of the Senate Judiciary Committee to test positive. Just a few hours earlier, Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah announced that he, too, is infected.

A spokesman for Tillis didn’t immediately respond to an email Friday night asking if the senator had recently been in close proximity to President Donald Trump, who was hospitalized after testing positive for the virus.

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Officials for the Tillis campaign says they are reaching out to anyone who may have been in contact with him this week at campaign events.

All staffers, who were with the Republican senator this week will quarantine and get tested. The Charlotte campaign headquarters has been shut down. There will be no in-person events indefinitely.

Tillis is running for reelection against Democrat Cal Cunningham, who tweeted Friday night he is getting tested.

Tillis' spokesperson said they notified Cunningham’s campaign and Spectrum News about Tillis' positive test.

The two had a debate Thursday night that was hosted by Spectrum News in Raleigh.

Tillis has supported mask-wearing. He was among the small minority of attendees at a Trump rally in Winston-Salem seen wearing a mask on Sept. 8. He’s also routinely seen on Capitol Hill wearing a mask.

He urged North Carolina residents to wear masks, socially distance and wash their hands.