11 positive coronavirus cases in Cleveland linked to presidential debate

Trump announced in a tweet early Friday morning that he and the first lady tested positive for the coronavirus.

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11 people involved in the planning and set-up of the presidential debate in Cleveland on Tuesday have tested positive for COVID-19.

The news coincides with the announcement that President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are both COVID-positive.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, the majority of those infected (so far) are out of state residents, WKYC reports. The non-profit medical center issued a statement on Friday noting that everyone with access to the debate hall tested negative for the virus prior to entry. Moderator Chris Wallace revealed that Trump and his family arrived too late to take the test.

Read More: Trump’s former adviser Kellyanne Conway tests positive for COVID-19

In a statement released on Friday, the clinic made clear that the individuals who tested positive were not permitted inside Samson Pavilion, where the debate was held. 

“It’s important to clarify the 11 people who tested positive never accessed the debate hall. These individuals were either members of the media or were scheduled to work logistics/set-up the days prior to the event. Individuals did not receive credentials or tickets to enter the debate hall until they had a negative test, and all were advised to isolate while they awaited their test results,” Cleveland Clinic said. 

“It is important to note that everyone affiliated with the debate – with credentials to be in the event perimeter – was tested upon arrival. Only those with negative test results were allowed within the pavilion. While CDPH was not on-site for the debate, we were in contact with organizers and those responsible for enforcing safety measures inside the venue,” the statement continued.

Trump announced in a tweet early Friday morning that he and Melania tested positive for the coronavirus. The news followed confirmation that White House senior aide Hope Hicks is in quarantine amid her positive diagnosis, theGRIO reported.

The president was last seen by reporters returning to the White House on Thursday evening and looked to be in good health. At 74 years old and obese, the former reality TV star is at higher risk of serious complications from a virus that has now killed more than 200,000 people nationwide.

Read More: President Trump and first lady test positive for COVID-19

During the first Trump-Biden detate, members of the president’s family were seen seated in the audience without wearing a mask. 

“I don’t wear masks like him,” Trump said of Biden. “Every time you see him, he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from me, and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”

Both Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris have tested negative, their campaign said. Vice President Mike Pence has also tested negative for the virus and “remains in good health,” his spokesman said.

Meanwhile, Cleveland city officials are working with the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the Cleveland Clinic on its contact tracing process.

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