FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Rand Paul said Tuesday that he has recovered from the coronavirus and has started volunteering at a hospital in his Kentucky hometown.
The Republican lawmaker tested positive for the virus in March, becoming the first case of COVID-19 in the Senate.
“I appreciate all the best wishes I have received," Paul said Tuesday. “I have been retested and I am negative. I have started volunteering at a local hospital to assist those in my community who are in need of medical help, including coronavirus patients. Together we will overcome this.”
Paul, an eye surgeon, is volunteering at TriStar Greenview Regional Hospital in Bowling Green while the Senate is on a break amid the coronavirus outbreak. Paul worked in emergency rooms early in his career as a physician, his office said.
The hospital's CEO, Mike Sherrod, said Tuesday that the senator is “lifting the spirits of patients and our colleagues” by volunteering.
“We appreciate Senator Paul and his support in recognizing our healthcare workers and providers at TriStar Greenview for their unwavering response to the COVID-19 pandemic," he said in a statement.
Paul went into quarantine after learning his initial test results in March. He later said he had been tested the prior week but continued working at the Capitol because he had no symptoms of the illness and believed it was “highly unlikely" he was sick. Paul also said he did not have direct contact with anyone who tested positive for the virus or was sick.
Paul’s refusal to self-quarantine after being tested drew harsh criticism from some of his colleagues.
Paul said last month that he took the initial test because of his extensive travel prior to the start of social-distancing practices and because he’s at a higher risk for serious complications from the virus. The senator had part of a lung removed last year in a procedure he says stemmed from injuries he suffered when a neighbor tackled him outside his Kentucky home in 2017.