Washington (CNN)Four people involved with the Republican National Convention meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina, tested positive for Covid-19, county officials said, serving as a reminder that large GOP events that have largely eschewed safety measures could contribute to the spread of coronavirus.
Two attendees and two individuals “supporting the event” tested positive, according to an official release from Mecklenburg County, where Charlotte is located. A spokesman for the party said the individuals tested positive upon arriving at the convention and were immediately sent home. In all, 792 Covid-19 tests were given to people who attended or provided support to the convention in Charlotte, the county said.
The city was originally going to host the entire Republican convention, but coronavirus-related concerns limited activities there to largely party business earlier this week rather than speeches, and much of the event was remote or held in Washington, DC.Visit CNN’s Election Center for full coverage of the 2020 raceRead More”These individuals were immediately issued isolation instructions and any known close contacts were notified and issued quarantine instructions by Mecklenburg County Public Health,” the county said.Many Republicans, most prominently President Donald Trump, have downplayed the ongoing spread of coronavirus and disregarded the need for safety measures such as avoiding large crowds and wearing masks in an urge to return the country to normalcy. When he accepted the Republican presidential nomination on Thursday evening at the White House, Trump appeared in front of an audience that was virtually entirely mask-less and attendees were sitting in close proximity to one another. And those who attended first lady Melania Trump’s speech in the White House Rose Garden earlier this week were not required to get tested, a person who attended the speech has told CNN.Trump had long insisted on holding a full, in-person convention in Charlotte as planned before the pandemic, only to back down following objections from the state’s Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, who expressed concerns about spreading the virus at such a large event.Michael Ahrens, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, said Friday the party had “diligent safety protocols in place” and tested all attendees both before and after they arrived in Charlotte.”Out of roughly 1,000 tests administered, two RNC attendees, despite having negative tests prior to travel, and two Charlotte locals who planned to serve as event support staff tested positive upon arrival. All were sent home,” Ahrens said.View 2020 presidential election pollingNorth Carolina Democratic Party spokesman Austin Cook, referring to news of the positive tests, said the decision to hold even a pared-down convention in Charlotte was a “slap to the face to the Charlotte community and all North Carolinians.”
Earlier in the summer, the President and his campaign were forced to shelve plans to revive his trademark campaign rallies after an event in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was poorly attended due to virus concerns. Several members of Trump’s campaign tested positive for the virus, as did several Secret Service agents who were present.Trump is scheduled to speak at a campaign event Friday night in New Hampshire, and WMUR reports that the event will adhere to a state requirement that masks are worn at scheduled gatherings of 100 people or more.