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Sen. Tim Kaine Tests Positive For COVID-19 Antibodies

 Sen. Tim Kaine speaking at a press conference in April of 2013.
FILE PHOTO: Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) speaking at a press conference in April of 2013. (Craig Carper/VPM)  

Senator Tim Kaine announced Thursday morning that he and his wife Anne Holton recently tested positive for coronavirus antibodies. 

The Virginia senator thinks he likely contracted COVID-19 sometime in the middle of March. Kaine said during a press call that he had previously tested positive for the flu, and didn’t suspect it was anything more until his wife began experiencing fever and chills in early April. Holton is currently the interim president of George Mason University.

“While I started to have, around [March] 23rd or 24th, some additional symptoms that seemed allergy-like, they were the symptoms that people were talking about in March: no shortness of breath, no fever, no loss of taste or smell,” he said. 

Kaine's announcement comes after Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) was criticized in March for not self-quarantining while he awaited his test results. Paul eventually tested positive for the COVID-19 disease.

Despite going to the Senate doctor for a "congested cough" on March 17 or 18, Kaine continued to work in his office on Capitol Hill. He was present for 18 votes in the Senate during March, including eight votes between March 18 and 25. Kaine said he believed the cough was related to his previous flu diagnosis. 

He said Thursday that he does not believe he infected others with COVID-19 because his staff has been working remotely since March 12 and the Senate put social distancing measures in place that month.

“We were already starting to space out,” Kaine said. “There were no visitors in the Capitol those last two weeks we were passing the CARES Act.”

He is leaving the decision of whether to get tested for coronavirus up to his staff.

Kaine, who is currently at his home in Richmond, said it is still unclear how accurate antibody testing is and whether having antibodies provides immunity from contracting the virus again. 

“So the right course for us, with this positive result, is to continue to follow the CDC guidelines and that’s what we’re going to do,” he said. 

Kaine says he and Holton will continue to social distance and wear masks when in public.