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Senator Kelly Loeffler tests negative for COVID-19 after earlier positive result

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U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler's office said Sunday that she had tested negative for COVID-19 in a PCR test, after a rapid test result came back positive Friday evening. Her office said she will continue to quarantine until she receives consecutive negative results. 

The Georgia Republican took two rapid COVID tests on Friday morning that came back negative, a spokesperson for her campaign said in a statement Saturday night. Loeffler campaigned Friday with Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Senator David Perdue in the state's hotly contested twin Senate races.  

She received another test Friday evening and the results came back positive, the statement said. Loeffler was tested again Saturday morning and the results were inconclusive. Rapid tests are more likely than PCR tests to result in a false positive.

Her campaign said Sunday that she doesn't have symptoms. Loeffler is following CDC guidelines and informing those with whom she was in direct contact, the statement said. 

Pence is awaiting more conclusive test results to see if he qualifies as having had "close contact" with Loeffler, his press secretary said Sunday.

"As he awaits a confirmatory test from Senator Loeffler, Vice President Pence is in regular consultation with the White House Medical Unit and will be following CDC guidelines as he has in other circumstances when he has been a close contact," press secretary Devin O'Malley said.

Loeffler appeared at a campaign event with Pence and Perdue in Georgia on Friday. She has held several rallies in recent weeks with crowds packed into close quarters and many audience members not wearing masks.

Loeffler is facing Democrat Raphael Warnock in a January 5 runoff election — one of two races that will determine which party has control of the Senate.

The other race will feature Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff. Having won 50 Senate seats in the new Congress, Republicans need one more for control. A Democratic sweep of the Georgia runoffs would yield a 50-50 Senate, giving Vice President-elect Kamala Harris the tie-breaking vote to tilt the chamber to Democrats.

With a little over a month until the runoff election and all the candidates intensely campaigning, it wasn't immediately clear what impact the tests would have on Loeffler's ability to campaign. Warnock tweeted Saturday night that he was praying that her test results come back negative.

Two staff members for Loeffler tested positive for COVID-19 last month. At the time, a subsequent test for Loeffler came back negative, according to a statement from her office. 

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