MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — President Donald Trump says he and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for COVID-19, just days after the president was in Minnesota. Now, the mayor of Duluth is urging anyone who attended the rally to get tested.
Thousands crowded together at the Duluth Airport Wednesday to see Trump, just a day before his diagnosis, many seen not wearing masks.
“If you were at the rally on Wednesday, please wear a mask, visit your healthcare provider to be tested, or go to the DECC to get a free test. Do everything you can to self-isolate and adhere to Minnesota Department of Health and CDC guidelines to keep yourselves and those around you safe,” Mayor Emily Larson said. “I truly wish the President, First Lady, and anyone else who has been diagnosed with a full and speedy recovery.”
The St. Louis County department of public health and human services says it’s unlikely anyone in the crowd would catch the virus from someone on stage but added: “With an estimated attendance of at least 3,000 people at the rally, there’s a pretty good likelihood that some of the attendees had the virus and were contagious.”
They cited guidance from the state’s health department and the Centers for Disease Control, saying the highest risk of exposure comes from being within six feet or less of someone contagious for 15 minutes or more.
“Based on the ‘six feet for 15 minutes’ assessment, the likelihood of someone in the audience catching the virus from someone on stage is fairly minimal,” said Amy Westbrook, St. Louis County Public Health Division Director. “However, with an estimated attendance of at least 3,000 people at the rally, there’s a pretty good likelihood that some of the attendees had the virus and were contagious, so as we would with any event, we strongly encourage participants to quarantine, monitor themselves for symptoms and consider getting tested.”
The Minnesota Department of Health says there was a lot of community transmission happening in St. Louis County before the president’s visit, and said everyone who went should get tested, symptoms or not — first 5 to 7 days after the event and then again 12 days afterwards, if their first results were negative.
Three Minnesota congressmen and a U.S. Senate candidate who flew on Air Force One with Trump shortly before he tested positive for the coronavirus have moved quickly to get tested. So have other political figures who came close to Trump during his visit to Minnesota.
U.S. Reps. Tom Emmer, Jim Hagedorn and Pete Stauber flew with the president to his rally in Duluth Wednesday. Senate candidate Jason Lewis was part of the greeting committee at the Minneapolis airport when Trump arrived, along with Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt. They’re all getting tested, as well.
When asked if he could stop big rallies like this in the future if there are COVID concerns, Gov. Tim Walz said yes, but he hopes he doesn’t have to.
“There’s a social compact that has to go with this, and again, me saying it is a lot less effective than folks saying it’s not the right thing to do,” Walz said.
The president’s son, Eric Trump, had a rally in Becker Thursday. The MDH says it hasn’t been told if Eric Trump was tested or if anyone there was infectious, but health officials reiterate that if you’ve been to any large gatherings lately, it’s a good idea to avoid other people and get tested.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)