What to Know
- Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine and his wife, university president Anne Holton, tested positive for coronavirus antibodies, Kaine announced Thursday.
- Health providers told them it was "possible that we had mild cases of coronavirus."
- They did not get tested for the virus "due to the national testing shortage."
Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine and his wife, university president Anne Holton, tested positive for coronavirus antibodies this month after they were sick in March, Kaine announced Thursday.
Kaine said they were not tested for the virus “due to the national testing shortage” but chose to isolate themselves in early April. Health care providers told them they possibly had "mild cases" of the virus.
The senator, who was Hillary Clinton’s running mate in 2016, visited a food bank in Arlington on May 4 and participated in a Senate hearing on May 12. He wore a bandana over his face in both locations and greeted fellow senators with elbow bumps, photographs show. Information was not immediately released on any concerns about senators or others with whom he had contact.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say they don’t know for how long someone with COVID-19 is infectious.
Kaine said he was treated for the flu early this year and experienced new symptoms at the end of March. Holton, who is the interim president of George Mason University, then had a fever, chills, congestion and a cough, Kaine said.
“After Anne got sick, we each talked to our health providers in early April and they thought it possible that we had mild cases of coronavirus. We were both at home in Richmond, working remotely and isolated from others. Due to the national testing shortage, we were not tested for the virus but continued isolating and watched for any worsening of symptoms. By mid-April we were symptom free,” Kaine said in a statement.
They each tested positive for coronavirus antibodies this month, Kaine said, without providing a date. Information was not immediately released on whether they requested tests.
Antibodies are blood proteins produced by the immune system and can be an indicator of prior coronavirus exposure, not current infection, the News4 I-Team explained. They may offer some level of protection from future infection, whether the individual ever developed COVID-19 symptoms or not.
More than 33,000 Virginians have been tested for antibodies, and 6.1% have come back positive.
Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is the only member of the Senate known to have tested positive for COVID-19, an NPR tracker says. Paul refused to self-quarantine as results of his test were pending, sparking bipartisan outrage. He said he had no symptoms and believed it was “highly unlikely” he was sick.
Several members of the Senate have self-quarantined because of potential exposure, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. He chose to stay home in early March after he had contact with a man who tested positive after attending the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.
Kaine and Holton will continue to follow CDC guidelines about handwashing, mask-wearing and social distancing, Kaine said.
“We encourage others to do so as well. It shows those around you that you care about them,” he said.
Stay with NBC Washington for more details on this developing story.