Six people working for Donald Trump’s campaign tested positive for the coronavirus in a pre-screening for the president’s Tusla rally.
As NBC reports, the news is likely to increase concerns about the spread of the virus at the event, which is one of the largest indoor public gatherings to take place since the pandemic forced the implementation of social distancing across the country.
Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign’s communications director, confirmed that the six staffers were identified during a routine screening and that none of the individuals would be present at the rally.
“Six members of the advance team tested positive out of hundreds of tests performed, and quarantine procedures were immediately implemented,” he said.
“No COVID-positive staffers or anyone in immediate contact will be at today’s rally or near attendees and elected officials.”
The campaign said that it is taking the health and safety of attendees seriously and is providing hand sanitizer and masks to those who will be attending the rally. Attendees will also be given a temperature check as they enter.
“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,” Murtaugh said.
Trump himself has faced criticism for refusing to wear a mask, which some say endangers those around him and sets a bad example for the rest of the country. The White House currently doesn’t require staffers to wear a mask unless they choose to.
People attending the rally were notified that the Trump campaign wouldn’t be held responsible if people contracted or got sick with COVID-19 as a result of their presence at the rally. Attendees were required to sign a digital waiver agreeing to the terms before they were issued tickets.
Public health advisers have been raising concerns about the rally since it was announced, warning that it could cause the virus to spread rapidly since attendees will be in close proximity indoors, likely cheering and shouting. Experts note that these are the types of conditions that can cause the virus to pass from person to person. The venue in Tusla can host up to 19,000 people.
The White House has criticized coverage of the potential for coronavirus at the rally, saying that it is hypocritical given the lack of coverage of the virus’ potential to spread among people attending Black Lives Matter protests.
The campaign didn’t release the names of the positive staffers, nor did it say what their specific roles were within the campaign.