MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Elected officials from Mid-South states are getting tested because of exposure to COVID-19 from President Donald Trump and the White House.
Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves was around President Trump earlier this week. Reeves said Friday that he was tested for the virus, and it came back negative. U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn, from Tennessee, was also around President Trump, and her staff reported a negative test from her, as well.
One infectious disease expert said those exposed may need more than one test to rule out a positive case.
“You can’t be sure that a test on day three or four does anything for you on day seven or eight,” said Dr. Steve Threlkeld, an infectious disease specialist at Baptist.
Threlkeld said typically those exposed and infected with the virus will return a positive test in roughly five days. The incubation period, or the time someone could get sick from exposure, is 14 days.
An infected person will be contagious before showing any symptoms. Threlkeld said that’s the key reason masking is increasingly critical when around others.
“It does protect people from our giving it to them even before we know if we are sick, if we are ever sick. So, yes it is important,” he said.
Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves was at the White House Monday for a COVID-19 testing event, as the Trump administration announced an effort to distribute 150 million rapid COVID-19 tests.
“Don’t have any reason to believe under current protocols it would be necessary for me to self-quarantine,” Reeves said.
Reeves told Mississippi blog “Ya’ll Politics” on Friday that he spent the majority of his time around Vice-President Mike Pence and the Coronavirus Task Force. Pence said he spent limited time with President Trump.
“We know that this virus is real, and it treats people in different ways,” said Reeves, “I’m concerned about him. I’m worried about him. I’m praying for him, and I know the vast majority of Mississippians regardless of their political views are doing the same.”
According to the NPR station in Atlanta, Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn informed attendees at a Georgia conservative conference Friday morning she flew with President Trump to the debate earlier this week. Her staff confirms she took a test Friday that was negative.
A spokesperson did not answer when asked if Senator Blackburn would be quarantining for 14 days. But she was on the campaign trail with Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler Friday afternoon.
Dr. Threlkeld said the first family’s positive tests should be a reminder that we are all susceptible.
“This should hit home for everybody that anybody can get this, even people who are relatively protected, supposedly people tested around them regularly. It only takes one slip of technique to allow yourself to be exposed to this virus,” said Threlkeld.