N.C. Senate Leader: Colleague Tests Positive For COVID-19
A North Carolina state senator has tested positive for COVID-19, a top legislative leader said on Friday, making public the first known case to involve a General Assembly member.
The senator wasn't named in a statement from Senate leader Phil Berger, who described the person receiving the diagnosis as a Republican man.
The Senate held a floor session with recorded votes on Wednesday. The House performed work Monday through Wednesday. The full legislature isn't expected to return to work until September.
Berger said the senator, as a proactive measure, had already taken a test before returning to Raleigh this week that came back negative. He took a second test on Thursday because his spouse was scheduled for a medical procedure. That test came back positive Friday, according to Berger.
The senator hasn't had any symptoms during this period, Berger said: “He is staying home and feels well.”
Building administrators at the legislative complex in downtown Raleigh have initiated health and social distancing measures since April. They've included temperature checks for legislators, staff and the public entering the Legislative Building during weeks in which work sessions have been held. A cafeteria worker tested positive for COVID-19 in early April.
But legislators, especially Democrats, have sought more restrictions, and criticized legislators — most of them Republicans — who have declined to wear face coverings indoors. The temperature checks were discontinued in mid-June, after no one had recorded a high-enough temperature to warrant medical attention. But they were restored when Senate Democrats complained.
While House leaders have allowed members to continue participating remotely in committee meetings, the Senate largely returned to normal operations several weeks ago.
Berger said the senator testing positive called Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue to alert him and other Democratic senators.
North Carolina health officials on Friday reported nearly 2,000 additional confirmed cases statewide, bringing the total during the epidemic to more than 81,300. Virus-related hospitalizations also reached a new high of nearly 1,050 patients. There have been about 1,480 deaths of COVID-19 patients, the state Department of Health and Human Services reported.