US President Donald Trump speaks at a “Make America Great Again” rally at Minges Coliseum in Greenville, North Carolina, on July 17, 2019.
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images
Six staffers on the president’s re-election campaign tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of his Saturday night rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Trump campaign confirmed to Business Insider.
The staffers and people who had been in “immediate contact” with them will not work at the campaign event, which is the president’s first since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Health experts have worried that the president’s rally will be a COVID-19 superspreading event. Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx reportedly expressed concerns last week over the safety of the large, in-person rally.
On Saturday, Tulsa County reported 136 new coronavirus cases — the highest single-day increase since the pandemic began.
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Six staffers on President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign’s advance team tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of his Saturday night rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Trump campaign confirmed to Business Insider.
“Per safety protocols, campaign staff are tested for COVID-19 before events,” Tim Murtaugh, the communications director for the Trump campaign told Business Insider. “Six members of the advance team tested positive out of hundreds of tests performed, and quarantine procedures were immediately implemented.”
Murtaugh said that none of the positive staffers or anyone who had been in “immediate contact” would be at the rally or near attendees or elected officials.
“As previously announced, all rally attendees are given temperature checks before going through security, at which point they are given wristbands, facemasks, and hand sanitizer,” he said.
Murtaugh did not say exactly when the six staffers tested positive or what their specific roles were on the campaign. The positive cases were first reported by NBC News’ Kelly O’Donnell.
As Business Insider previously reported, health experts have warned the Saturday rally could be a COVID-19 superspreader event, which research suggests could be the culprit for a majority of COVID-19 cases.
The president’s own advisers reportedly expressed concerns about the rally at the venue that holds around 19,000 people, though the president and his campaign have pushed ahead with his first rally since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
The BOK Center on Thursday said it requested a more detailed health and safety plan from the campaign, including how it planned to enforce social distancing, but it had not sent one to the venue as of Friday evening, NBC News reported.
Representatives for the BOK Center have not returned Business Insider’s request for comment. The Trump Campaign has not returned numerous Business Insider requests about whether it had or would send such a written plan to the venue.
On Saturday, Tulsa County reported 136 new coronavirus cases — the highest single-day total since the pandemic began, while the state health agency reported 331 new cases. On Thursday, the Oklahoma State Department of Health reported 450 new COVID-19 cases, breaking the state’s all-time record set the day before.
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