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See the latest news and updates about COVID-19 and its impact on the Charlotte region, the Carolinas and beyond.

NC Sen. Thom Tillis Tests Positive For Coronavirus

Thom Tillis
Sen. Thom Tillis meets with Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.

North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis has tested positive for the coronavirus his staff announced Friday night. He said he does not have any symptoms of the virus, but he will halt all in-person campaign activities and quarantine for 10 days.

Tillis, who is running for reelection, had a debate with Democratic opponent Cal Cunningham on Thursday night in Raleigh. The two were photographed bumping elbows while wearing masks.

On Wednesday, Tillis, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, met with Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court. Barrett announced Friday that she had tested negative for COVID-19.

In a statement, Tillis said he has been routinely tested for COVID-19, including a negative test last Saturday.

On Friday evening, his rapid antigen test was 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," Tillis said in the statement. "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 has generally supported Democratic Gov. Roy’s Cooper’s health mandates and has urged people to wear face coverings. In August, Tillis tweeted a photo of himself on the White House lawn before President Trump’s acceptance speech wearing a mask. But he was then later photographed during the speech not wearing a mask. He said he did not live up to his own standard.

Utah Sen. Mike Lee, a Republican from Utah, also announced Friday that he tested positive for COVID-19.

Tillis' campaign later issued a statement saying the Charlotte campaign headquarters have been 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, ” the statement said.

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Jodie Valade has been a Digital News and Engagement Editor for WFAE since 2019. Since moving to Charlotte in 2015, she has worked as a digital content producer for NASCAR.com and a freelance writer for publications ranging from Charlotte magazine to The Athletic to The Washington Post and New York Times. Before that, Jodie was an award-winning sports features and enterprise reporter at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio. She also worked at The Dallas Morning News covering the Dallas Mavericks — where she became Mark Cuban's lifelong email pen pal — and at The Kansas City Star. She has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University and a Master of Education from John Carroll University. She is originally from Rochester Hills, Michigan.
Steve Harrison is WFAE's politics and government reporter. Prior to joining WFAE, Steve worked at the Charlotte Observer, where he started on the business desk, then covered politics extensively as the Observer’s lead city government reporter. Steve also spent 10 years with the Miami Herald. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, the Sporting News and Sports Illustrated.