Cleveland Officials Traced COVID Cases Back to the Debate... Before Trump Was On-site

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Posted: Oct 03, 2020 11:45 AM
Cleveland Officials Traced COVID Cases Back to the Debate... Before Trump Was On-site

Source: AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Officials for the City of Cleveland said 11 cases of the Wuhan coronavirus could be traced back to the Sept. 29 presidential debate. The cases were a result of debate pre-planning and set-up, with the majority of cases impacting out-of-state travelers, particularly debate organizers and members of the media.

The news comes after President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for the virus. Out of an abundance of caution, the president was transported to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Friday.

"As the cases involve people in and out of state some of whom may be continuing to travel, the City of Cleveland is working with the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the Cleveland Clinic," the city said in a statement. "As part of CDPH’s process regarding COVID-19, any individuals who tested positive as part of the debate were contacted, interviewed when possible, issued isolation orders and provided guidance regarding their isolation period. There were also conversations with individuals who tested positive regarding their upcoming travel."

Part of the contact tracing that's being deployed will focus on identifying Cleveland residents who may have been at the debate. They will be asked a number of questions, like who they live with, where they work, what type of work they do, if they're caring for anyone and if they've been at any other mass gatherings.

"In the event the person’s case stems from the debate, the individual will be asked: who they are employed by, who they were in contact with at the debate, how they got to the debate, how long they were there, if they did any traveling recently or attended any other mass gathering," the city explained.

Before the event, the Cleveland Clinic, which oversaw the health and safety measures at the debate, said there was a very low risk level of exposure.

"Based on what we know about the virus and the safety measures we had in place, we believe there is low risk of exposure to our guests," the Cleveland Clinic said in a statement before Tuesday's debate.

Even though 11 cases were traced back to the pre-debate planning, the Cleveland Clinic made one thing clear: every single person with credentials who went into the debate had to have a negative Wuhan coronavirus test.