DeWine urges anyone who attended local Trump events to get tested for COVID-19

President Donald Trump speaks at Vandalia rally

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Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Friday urged anyone who attended recent local campaign events with President Donald Trump or his son to get tested after the president and first lady tested positive for COVID-19.

DeWine said he hopes future events don’t feature large crowds of people crammed together without masks.

“If you’ve been in a big crowd, you should get tested,” he said. “We wish you hadn’t been in a big crowd.”

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Trump made a campaign stop at a business at the Dayton International Airport on Sept. 21 and Donald Trump Jr. held a rally with 400 people at a venue near Tipp City on Wednesday, one day after joining his father at the presidential debate in Cleveland.

Trump Jr. canceled an appearance Friday in Texas, saying he was awaiting results from a COVID-19 test, according to an announcement from GOP officials there.

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In an announcement Friday evening that President Trump was being taken to the hospital and Melania Trump had a mild cough and headache, the White House said “the remainder of the First Family are well and tested negative for (COVID-19).”

Miami County ‘monitoring’

Miami County Public Health spokeswoman Vicky Knisley-Henry said Friday they knew of no positive cases associated with the Tipp City event.

“At this point it is President Trump that has tested positive, not Trump Jr. Therefore we are monitoring the situation to see if anything more develops,” she said. “In the event there would be a positive case, then MCPH would follow up on it and any contact tracing needed for the case.”

Public Health was not notified about the Wednesday rally before it took place because political rallies are exempt from public health orders concerning COVID-19, Knisley-Henry said.

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Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak recited the Pledge of Allegiance during the Trump Jr. appearance. He said he walked to an empty stage to do the pledge and then stood on the perimeter to watch the crowd.

“Neither I, nor the other deputies working security for the event, were in the crowd nor did we meet or come into close proximity to Mr. Trump Jr. To date, I have heard nothing from the health department,” Duchak said.

State Rep. Jena Powell, R-Arcanum, spoke during the rally and shook hands with the president’s son on the stage. Powell did not return calls seeking comment Friday.

State officials tested

It’s unclear when the president or first lady contracted COVID-19. An infected person can spread the virus 48 hours before having any symptoms or testing positive, per the CDC.

DeWine, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and state officials from both parties who attended the Tuesday debate said Friday they were getting tested. All results came back negative.

U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, tested negative for COVID-19 Friday. He was tested as a precaution after traveling on Air Force One with the president to Tuesday’s debate in Cleveland, said Russell Dye, spokesman for the congressman.

“Mr. Jordan has been advised by his physician that since he was not in close contact with any COVID-19 positive people during a risk time period, he does not have to quarantine,” Dye said.

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, also tested negative Friday. He was tested because he appeared with Trump at an event Monday at the White House.

Montgomery County Democratic and Republican party officials both said they were unaware of any other officials from this area who attended the debate in Cleveland.

Ohio House Minority Leader Rep. Emilia Sykes, D-Akron, released a statement wishing Trump and his team “a speedy recovery” and saying Trump’s diagnosis is a reminder of the importance of precautions such as mask-wearing and social distancing.

“Sitting in the debate hall on Tuesday, I was concerned with so many in the president’s entourage who refused to wear masks, despite urging from Cleveland Clinic physicians,” she said. “I am frustrated today as I worry now about my own health and the health of so many others who were present that evening like journalists, support staff, Cleveland Clinic professionals, and many others who could have potentially been exposed.”

DeWine: No outbreak linked to Dayton event

At the Sept. 21 event at the Dayton airport, more than 1,200 Trump supporters, many not wearing masks, attended the airport rally in an open-air hangar.

Husted was met with boos when he took the stage before Trump’s arrival and talked up the merits of wearing masks.

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DeWine and first lady Fran DeWine met Trump in his cabin aboard Air Force One at the Dayton airport, he said. DeWine said he and his wife wore masks, but Trump did not.

DeWine said he’s unaware of any outbreak related to the events in Dayton or Toledo, where the president visited after leaving here.

“I’ve not been told that anybody out in the counties, as far as the local health departments, have picked anything up at this point," DeWine said.

News of the president catching the virus came out the same day Ohio saw a spike of nearly 1,500 new cases and hospitalizations trending upward.

“(Trump’s diagnosis) is a powerful reminder to us we have to do the basic things, we have to wear a mask, we have to social distance, we have to be careful. We have to avoid crowds,” DeWine said.

“If we could get 90% of the people to wear a mask … these numbers would not be what you saw today, they simply would not be. This is pushing 1,500 cases for a day. That is not good. We are not headed in the right direction."

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