2 NC lawmakers who contract COVID were on same hunting trip

North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Two North Carolina legislators who announced this week they had tested positive for COVID-19 participated in the same duck-hunting trip with other elected officials last week.

Senate Rules Committee Chairman Bill Rabon, a Brunswick County Republican, announced on Tuesday in a news release the results of a coronavirus test he took on Monday after experiencing mild cold-like symptoms. And Democratic Rep. Brian Turner of Buncombe County announced on Monday he had tested positive.

Rabon, a 69-year-old veterinarian who joined the Senate in 2011, had no symptoms Tuesday, was isolating himself at his home and speaking to those with whom he had close contact, his news release said. Turner said in a Facebook post he was also contacting people who might have been exposed.

Both men were among several state legislators and others who participated in a duck-hunting trip last Friday, according to Rep. Jason Saine, a Lincoln County Republican and another event participant. It’s unclear whether they contracted the virus during the event.

Other trip participants included first-term U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., Saine said.

Saine said Tuesday he wasn’t in close contact with Rabon or Turner and is experiencing no symptoms. He said he’s been working to follow safety precautions to discourage the potential for contracting the virus.

Cawthorn spokesman Micah Bock said the congressman was tested on Tuesday and awaiting results, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported. Cawthorn was showing no signs of the virus, Bock said.

Rabon’s release cited guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stating that those in “close contact” would be those within 6 feet (1.8 meters) of an infected person for 15 minutes or more within two days of the onset of his symptoms.

While Turner didn’t attend last Wednesday’s opening day of the General Assembly session, Rabon did. All 50 senators wore masks on the floor. Rabon also kept his face covering on while speaking during debate.

Pat Ryan, a spokesman for Senate Republicans, said Rabon notified Senate Democrats of his positive test before releasing Tuesday’s statement.

While Ryan didn’t know specifically other people whom Rabon has contacted, he said the guidance would suggest that other senators and staff who saw Rabon last Wednesday in Raleigh wouldn’t fit the “close contact” definition.

Turner, who has been an advocate for wearing masks, washing hands and social distancing, said Monday his symptoms to date were similar to a bad cold.

The legislature resumes its two-year session Jan. 27.

Sen. Danny Britt, a Robeson County Republican, tested positive for the coronavirus last summer.

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