Republican Senator David Perdue was forced into quarantine Thursday in the home stretch of Georgia’s high-stakes Senate runoffs, disclosing just five days before the election that he had been exposed to a campaign worker infected with the coronavirus.
Perdue’s campaign did not say how long he plans to stay in quarantine, but guidelines of the federal Centers for Disease Control say those exposed to the virus can resume normal activities after seven days if they have a negative test result.
Following that guidance would keep Perdue in isolation for the remainder of the campaign.
“This morning, Senator Perdue was notified that he came into close contact with someone on the campaign who tested positive for COVID-19,” the Perdue campaign’s statement said.
“Both Senator Perdue and his wife tested negative today, but following his doctor’s recommendations and in accordance with CDC guidelines, they will quarantine.”
The statement went on to say Perdue’s campaign “will continue to follow CDC guidelines”.
Both Perdue and fellow Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler are on Georgia’s runoff ballot Tuesday. Perdue faces Democrat Jon Ossoff, while Loeffler faces Democrat Raphael Warnock.
If both Republican incumbents lose, Democrats will control the Senate.
President Donald Trump has scheduled a rally Monday to fire up turnout for Perdue and Loeffler in heavily conservative northwest Georgia.
Democrats are also bringing their heavy hitters to the state. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris plans to campaign Sunday for Ossoff and Warnock in Savannah, followed by President-elect Joe Biden sharing a stage with the Democrats on Monday in Atlanta.
Thursday marks the last day of early in-person voting and, according to state data, more than 2.8 million Georgians have already voted – a record high for a Georgia runoff election, exceeding the 2.1 million ballots cast in a 2008 runoff.
Georgia’s surge in voting, including among Black voters who have historically supported the Democratic Party, suggest a competitive contest in a state Biden narrowly won in November.
About a third of the ballots accepted so far come from voters who identified themselves as Black when they registered to vote, up from about 27 percent in the November election, according to Reuters.
The state releases information about the number of people who voted, but does not tally their votes until election day.
Early voting, both by mail and at in-person voting centers, appears high across the state, including in Republican areas.