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Casey Says Antibody Test Shows He Likely Had COVID-19

AP-U.S. Sen. Bob Casey’s staff convinced him fairly early on in March that he needed to take precautions against COVID-19.

Frequent hand-washing.

Keeping his distance from other people.

Even when he had to go to the Senate floor to vote, he said, it was all business — “vote and walk out.”

So it’s a little perplexing how he managed to contract the coronavirus during that time.

“I really don’t know,” Casey said Friday after announcing he apparently had a mild case of COVID-19 earlier this spring. “It’s really mysterious. You can rack your brain, and you will never know.”

The 60-year-old Scranton Democrat said he received the results of a COVID-19 antibody test Wednesday, which was positive.

“This positive test means that I likely had COVID-19 at some point over the last several months and have since developed an antibody response to the virus,” Casey said.

The senator said it was in late March when he experienced a low-grade fever and had some mild flu-like symptoms that persisted for several days. He consulted by phone with his physician, who suggested he quarantine at his Scranton home for two weeks.

At that point, his wife, Terese, was out of town to be with their oldest daughter and her husband, who were expecting their first child, he said.

“I was fortunate that we had a break (in the Senate) and I could be in Scranton in an empty house and really self-isolate,” Casey said.

Aside from taking out the garbage and walking onto the front porch to bring in the mail and the newspaper, he did not leave the house for two weeks, he said.

He continued to work during the illness, remotely engaging with constituents and staff. His symptoms abated by mid-April.

Casey said it was never recommended that he be tested for the virus, nor does he believe that he should have been tested.

His symptoms were relatively mild and manageable, he said. There were no respiratory issues and the fever, while “no fun,” was not debilitating. In addition, testing in Lackawanna County at that time was very limited.

“I didn’t want to take up the time or the resources,” Casey said.

The senator said he received the antibody test last week to determine whether his symptoms may have been the result of COVID-19 and whether he might be a candidate to donate blood plasma to help others fight the virus.

The test showed he has substantial levels of antibody, well above the threshold needed to be a donor, Casey said. He made his first plasma donation Friday at CSL Plasma in Taylor.

Casey said he will continue to follow the guidance of public health experts by wearing a mask in public and observing social distancing practices.

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