By WILL STEAKIN and TERRANCE SMITH, ABC News
(CHARLOTTE) — At least four people who were at Monday’s Republican National Convention meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina, tested positive for COVID-19, according to county officials.
Two attendees and two other “individuals supporting the event” tested positive for COVID-19 and were immediately isolated, according to an official release North Carolina’s Mecklenburg County posted on Friday.
A Republican spokesperson told ABC News a number of safety precautions were put in place that included testing all attendees both before traveling to Charlotte and, upon arrival, contact tracing protocols were followed. While wearing masks and social distancing were encouraged, they were not enforced.
“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,” RNC Communications Director Michael Ahrens told ABC News.
According to the country release, “approximately 792 COVID-19 tests were conducted among individuals attending or providing support to the Republican National Convention (RNC) Meeting in the City of Charlotte.”
But on the ground in Charlotte, where over 300 delegates from around the country traveled to the city, most attendees packed inside the Charlotte Convention Center did not wear masks, bucking North Carolina’s COVID-19 statewide mask mandate.
The convention in Charlotte, which was separate from the rest of the week’s convention events that were held in Washington D.C., is not the only Trump event that has been linked to attendees testing positive for coronavirus.
Earlier this summer, Trump held a rally in Tulsa that public health experts in the state say contributed to a rise in cases in the city.
There were at least eight Trump campaign advance staffers in Tulsa, two of whom attended the rally, that tested positive for the virus.
The White House pushed back on the idea that the rally in Tulsa contributed to the cases as White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said she had “no data to indicate” that was the case.
Thursday night at the White House, there were upwards of 1,500 people in attendance for the president’s acceptance speech on the South Lawn.
The Trump campaign released a statement ahead of the event which read, “strict protocols are in full compliance with multiple guidelines set forth by the United States Centers for Disease Control, the District of Columbia Department of Public Health, and other leading authorities on health safety.” However, there were very few masks were worn and social distancing was not observed.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, along with several of his staffers, said that Trump hosted a coronavirus “super spreader” event on the South Lawn.
“Mr. President, Americans are canceling weddings and holding funerals without family. They’re sacrificing so more Americans don’t have to die. But instead of leading by example, you hosted a super spreader event on the South Lawn. When will you take the presidency seriously?” Biden tweeted Thursday night.
Trump will be holding a campaign event in New Hampshire on Friday. This comes weeks after the president canceled the previously scheduled event in the state due to an inclement weather forecast.
The event will be the first at which the Trump campaign will enforce a mask mandate for all attendees in order to comply with New Hampshire’s state rules.
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