Tim Murtaugh, the campaign’s communications director, said in an emailed statement to Global News that the six staffers who tested positive were six “out of hundreds of tests performed,” adding “quarantine procedures were immediately implemented.”
“No COVID-positive staffers or anyone in immediate contact will be at today’s rally or near attendees and elected officials. As previously announced, all rally attendees are given temperature checks before going through security, at which point they are given wristbands, face masks and hand sanitizer,” he said.
Thousands of people are expected to turn out to the indoor rally at the BOK Center, held as part of Trump’s re-election campaign. The arena can hold more than 19,000 people.
Tulsa County health officials urged for caution on large gatherings after a recent resurgence of COVID-19 cases. As of Saturday, the state had seen more 2,200 confirmed cases, while 66 people have died from the virus, data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health showed.
“I have concerns about large groups of people gathering indoors for prolonged lengths of time. It is imperative that anyone who chooses to host or attend a gathering take the steps to stay safe. If you are sick or think you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, stay home,” Dr. Bruce Dart, executive director of the Tulsa Health Department, said in a release last week.
“The bottom line is that the more people an infected individual interacts with and the longer that interaction lasts, the greater the risk for spreading COVID-19 becomes.”
Many supporters lining up for the rally said they were unconcerned about contracting the virus, NBC News reported.
“If today is the day I die, today is the day I die,” said David Riniker, 62, who added he drove to Tulsa from his home in Arkansas earlier to attend in an interview with NBC News. “I’m not paranoid, I’m not afraid.”
Another, Oklahoma resident Mary Legan, claimed the coronavirus pandemic was “hyped up more than it is,” but also told NBC News she brought hand sanitizer for herself and her husband, Ken.
“When you’re in your 70s, you can’t go hide in your basement. You don’t have that many more years,” she said. “If Trump felt comfortable having it here, then I’m comfortable.”