Senator Kelly Loeffler, one of two Republican senators vying for reelection in a critical January runoff in Georgia, is self-isolating after testing positive for COVID-19. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Loeffler received a positive test result on Friday, and then received an inconclusive result when she was tested again on Saturday. She had passed two rapid tests before attending campaign events with Vice-President Mike Pence in Georgia on Friday, but learned after the events that a PCR test she had also taken had come back positive.
A campaign spokesperson told the Journal-Constitution that Loeffler has no symptoms and, in accordance with CDC guidelines, is quarantining herself “until retesting is conclusive and an update will be provided at that time.”
Loeffler is running against Democrat Raphael Warnock in the January 5 runoff which, along with the race between GOP senator David Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff, will determine which party controls the Senate. It’s not clear how her COVID-19 status and quarantine will affect that race, but she obviously will not be able to campaign in person in the meantime.
Loeffler campaigned together with Perdue at several recent events, as well as with Arkansas senator Tom Cotton on Thursday. The Journal-Constitution points out that Loeffler regularly wears a face mask while campaigning and has been holding outdoor events.
Two other Republican senators tested positive for COVID-19 this week, Iowa’s Chuck Grassley and Florida’s Rick Scott, as did President Trump’s son, Donald Jr.
Meanwhile, the startling third wave of the pandemic continues to surge across the country, with a record 193,000 new cases reported Friday. The more than 82,000 current hospitalizations reported Friday was also a new record. On average, more than 1,800 Americans are currently dying from the coronavirus each day. As of Saturday, more than 400,000 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Georgia since the pandemic began.