Blackburn, who traveled with Trump, tests negative for virus

Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trumps nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, meets with Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020. (Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via AP)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn on Friday tested negative for the coronavirus after potentially being exposed earlier this week, a spokesperson confirmed.

The Tennessee Republican had traveled with President Donald Trump ahead of Tuesday’s debate. Trump has since announced that he and first lady Melania Trump have COVID-19.

Blackburn, 68, was also at the White House on Saturday when Trump announced the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett. At least two attendees — U.S. Sen. Mike Lee and University of Notre Dame’s president, the Rev. John Jenkins — also tested positive for the virus several days after that event.

Lee, a Utah Republican who is on the Senate Judiciary Committee, has said he’ll isolate for 10 days before returning to public life the day the panel is scheduled to begin considering Barrett’s nomination. Blackburn is also a member of the judiciary committee.

Blackburn initially announced she had been exposed to the virus while speaking at a conference in Atlanta. The senator spoke over Zoom to abide by social distancing guidelines, saying she was getting a test “out of an abundance of caution and respect for each of you.”

Several hours later, Blackburn was at a campaign event for U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler of Georgia. The two Republicans waited until they had received their COVID-19 test results before attending the event.

Studies have shown that people may be contagious for about two days prior to developing COVID-19 symptoms and may be most contagious during that time.

Blackburn’s spokesperson did not provide any other information regarding the negative test, including whether the senator will quarantine for the next 14 days.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including life-threatening pneumonia.