WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Sen. Tim Kaine and his wife, Anne Holton, have tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies, according to a statement from the senator's office Thursday.
Kaine said he tested positive for the flu earlier this year and took medicine to treat it.
"The symptoms lingered and I continued to receive treatment from my physician for the flu through mid-March," Kaine said. "At the end of March, I experienced new symptoms that I initially thought were flu remnants and a reaction to an unusually high spring pollen count."
Kaine said his wife experienced a "short bout of fever and chills, followed by congestion and eventually a cough."
“After Anne got sick, we each talked to our health providers in early April and they thought it possible that we had mild cases of coronavirus," Kaine said.
The couple was working remotely at their home in Richmond and isolated from others at the time, Kaine said.
"Due to the national testing shortage, we were not tested for the virus but continued isolating and watched for any worsening of symptoms. By mid-April we were symptom free," Kaine said.
When the pair were tested for COVD-19 antibodies this month, Kaine and Holton tested positive.
"While those antibodies could make us less likely to be re-infected or infect others, there is still too much uncertainty over what protection antibodies may actually provide," Kaine said. "So we will keep following CDC guidelines—hand-washing, mask wearing, social distancing. We encourage others to do so as well. It shows those around you that you care about them.”
More than 41,400 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Virginia as of Thursday. Nearly 8,500 cases have been reported in the nation's capital.
While early indications are that having antibodies offers some protection against reinfection, the CDC said too little is known about antibodies to determine whether it is safe for a person to no longer need to conduct social distancing. Additionally, the CDC said that a positive test should not be used at this time to determine if an individual is immune.
The CDC added, “Serologic test results should not be used to make decisions about grouping persons residing in or being admitted to congregate settings, such as schools, dormitories, or correctional facilities.”
The CDC said that it recommends providers use multiple antibody tests on patients, and it obtains the most accurate tests available.
Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.
COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.
Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid contact with sick people.Avoid non-essential travel.