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Second GOP senator attends Barrett hearings in person after COVID-19 diagnosis

Second GOP senator attends Barrett hearings in person after COVID-19 diagnosis
© Greg Nash

Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisMcConnell backs Garland for attorney general GOP senators demand probe into Cuomo's handling of nursing home deaths CNN anchor confronts GOP chairman over senator's vote to convict Trump MORE (R-N.C.), who tested positive for COVID-19 days after attending a White House ceremony for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney BarrettAmy Coney BarrettWe need a voting rights workaround Barrett authors first Supreme Court majority opinion against environmental group Justices raise bar for noncitizens to challenge removal from US after conviction MORE, appeared in person at the second day of Barrett’s confirmation hearing Tuesday after being cleared in a letter from his doctor. 

Tillis walked into the Senate Judiciary Committee room Tuesday wearing a face mask, leaving it on as the hearing began. Senators sat six feet apart, with hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes stationed between each of them. 

After CNN reported that Tillis was expected to be at Tuesday’s hearing, the senator released a letter from his personal physician, Dr. Jack Faircloth, who wrote that Tillis met all the requirements for ending isolation. 

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Regarding your case, there are 3 criteria that are CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines to meet,” the doctor began. “One must complete 10 days of quarantine from testing positive when they were diagnosed asymptomatically like yourself. Second, one must be fever free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducers. Last, one must have all other symptoms improve.”

He added that as of Monday afternoon, Tillis met each of these criteria. 

In a statement shared on Twitter, Tillis thanked his doctors “who provided guidance throughout my quarantine since testing positive for COVID-19.” 

“I feel very fortunate that I had a mild case with few symptoms, and I want to thank North Carolinians for their prayers and well-wishes,” he added. 

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Tillis also said that he had enrolled in the antibody research study through Atrium Health and Wake Forest Baptist Health and volunteered to participate in UNC Chapel Hill’s immunology study. 

He also wrote in a follow-up tweet that he looked “forward to participating” in the second day of Barrett’s nomination hearings, along with a photo of him seated and wearing a mask. 

Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeWhite House downplays surprising February jobs gain, warns US far from recovery White House open to reforming war powers amid bipartisan push Garland's AG nomination delayed by GOP roadblocks MORE (R-Utah) had attended Monday’s hearing following his positive diagnosis after attending Barrett’s White House ceremony. 

Lee said he had been cleared by Congress’s attending physician to show up in the hearing room because he was "no longer contagious.”

“I’m feeling great. Ready to be back in the saddle and excited for today’s hearings to begin. I’ll be participating in person. I’ve gotten the signoff from the Office of the Attending Physician,” he told conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt on Monday.

“I’ve gone through the appropriate number of days and I’ve been keeping my temperature under control and I’m no longer contagious,” he added.

Both Lee and Tillis had announced their COVID-19 diagnoses on Oct. 2 after President TrumpDonald TrumpUS, South Korea reach agreement on cost-sharing for troops Graham: Trump can make GOP bigger, stronger, or he 'could destroy it' Biden nominates female generals whose promotions were reportedly delayed under Trump MORE announced that he and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpMissouri pastor faces backlash after suggesting wives should lose weight, strive to look like Melania Trump The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - FBI director testifies on Jan. 6 Capitol attack Overnight Health Care: Senate to vote on .9 trillion relief bill this week | J&J vaccine rollout begins | CDC warns against lifting restrictions MORE had tested positive for the virus. 

Lee appeared in the Hart Senate Office Building hearing room Monday wearing a mask and saying he’ll have immunity from the virus for a while.

“Once you have it, at least for a period of a few months you’re not going to get it again,” he said, adding that his family is “doing great” and is “symptom free.”

— Jordain Carney contributed.