Tillis cleared to appear in person at ACB hearings, joins Lee after COVID-19 bout

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Sen. Thom Tillis appeared in person Tuesday at the second day of confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett after being cleared by his doctor to do so following his coronavirus diagnosis.

Tillis (R-NC) donned a face mask at the hearing when not speaking as other senators did the same. Lawmakers also practiced social distancing by sitting six feet apart.

The Judiciary Committee Republican took part in Monday’s hearing virtually due to his diagnosis. He and fellow committee member Mike Lee (R-Utah) caught the virus earlier this month at Barrett’s announcement ceremony at the White House.

Lee has participated in both days’ hearings in person, though he has worn a face mask.

Tillis released a letter from his personal physician, Dr. Jack Faircloth, in which he discussed approving the senator to physically take part in the hearings.

“The CDC guidelines for ending isolation [for] those that know they are positive for the new coronavirus are simple,” Faircloth writes in the letter, dated Monday. “Regarding your case, there are 3 criteria that are CDC guidelines to meet.”

“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 wrote, adding that Tillis “will fulfill all of these CDC criteria of ending your COVID-19 isolation” at 4 p.m. Monday.

Tillis thanked his doctors in a statement on his decision to participate in the hearings from Capitol Hill, adding that he had joined an antibody study.

“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. As we all know, COVID-19 is a very contagious and deadly virus, and I am proud to enroll in the antibody research study through Atrium Health and Wake Forest Baptist Health and volunteer to participate in UNC Chapel Hill’s immunology study and help however I can to end COVID.”