Six members of President Donald Trump’s campaign staff who are in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to setup for the president’s first campaign rally in months tested positive for the coronavirus, the campaign announced on Saturday.
The president’s campaign said they performed hundreds of tests ahead of Trump’s rally, his first since March 2, but six members of his advance team tested positive.
“Six members of the advance team tested positive out of hundreds of tests performed, and quarantine procedures were immediately implemented,” Tim Murtaugh, the campaign communications director said in a statement. “No COVID-positive staffers or anyone in immediate contact will be at today’s rally or near attendees and elected officials.”
Of the six members of the Trump advance team who tested positive for coronavirus ahead of the Tulsa rally, at least two of them are Secret Service agents, according to a law enforcement official.
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The staffers who tested positive are currently quarantining.
The news comes as Trump, the White House and the president’s re-election campaign organization have been criticized for hosting an event in an enclosed, 19,000-seat arena in Tulsa. The campaign has required all those in attendance to sign a digital waiver releasing the campaign and president of any liability if they get sick.
A White House official told NBC News that the administration is aware of the staffers who tested positive but declined to comment on the matter.
A source familiar with the matter said that the campaign is doing contact tracing, but also noted that staffers have been in Oklahoma for a week. The majority have not been wearing masks, were going out to restaurants and weren’t take precautionary measures because of the pandemic.
NBC News previously reported on Friday that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, and coronavirus task force response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx both expressed concern in the last week over the safety of holding Saturday’s rally in part because Oklahoma has also seen a significant rise in COVID-19 cases.
There has been a 100 percent spike in Tulsa County just this week, the highest in the state, and health officials announced Saturday that it had 136 new coronavirus cases, the highest number its yet to report in a single day as the trend of cases, hospitalizations and deaths in Oklahoma continues to rise.
The campaign, however, has maintained that they are taking enough precautions to avoid a sudden uptick in cases.
“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.