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Perdue, Loeffler negative for COVID-19 after Trump visit

Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., in red face mask, talks with President Donald as he arrives at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., listens second from right.
Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., in red face mask, talks with President Donald as he arrives at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., listens second from right. (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

ATLANTA – Both of Georgia’s U.S. senators say they’ve tested negative for COVID-19 after coming into contact with President Donald Trump when he visited Atlanta last week.

Sen. David Perdue tweeted that he and his wife were cleared Friday.

“Bonnie & I both tested negative for #COVID19 today. We got tested proactively and continue to urge all Georgians to stay vigilant as we fight this virus. Remember to follow the 3W’s: wash your hands, watch your distance, and wear your mask!”

Sen. Kelly Loeffler attended a news conference in the White House Rose Garden on Saturday Sept. 26 where President Donald Trump announced Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. Photos of the event show Loeffler sitting in the audience in close proximity to other people and not wearing a mask. Several attendees of the event, including Trump, have since tested positive for the virus.

Despite her potential exposure, Loeffler has continued to campaign. She gave a speech at the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference Friday morning, just hours after Trump announced his own positive test for the virus, then held a rally at a crowded restaurant in Forsyth County that afternoon. Many attendees at both events did not wear masks.

Loeffler campaign spokeswoman Caitlin O’Dea said Saturday that Loeffler tested negative for the virus on Friday and was not quarantining, despite CDC guidelines that say people should “stay home for 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19.”

Loeffler’s Senate office released a statement saying: “Out of an abundance of caution, Senator Loeffler took a COVID-19 test yesterday that came back negative. Senator Loeffler will continue to follow health and safety guidelines both in Washington and Georgia as she continues her work to combat the coronavirus and keep Georgia families safe.”

Perdue and Loeffler were among a number of Georgia lawmakers, including Gov. Brian Kemp, who greeted Trump as he exited Air Force One at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta on Sept. 25. Trump disembarked the aircraft without a mask and greeted Kemp and first lady Marty Kemp, who took off their masks while talking to him.

Both senators are on the ballot Nov. 3. Perdue is seeking a second term and faces Democrat Jon Ossoff. Loeffler is aiming to win her first election after being appointed less than a year ago by Kemp. She faces a crowded field in a special election that also includes Republican Rep. Doug Collins and Democrat Raphael Warnock.

Trump said Friday that he and his wife, Melania, have both tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Trump remains hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, while the first lady is under quarantine at the White House.