Over 200 people attended President Trump’s Thursday evening fundraiser in Bedminster, New Jersey hours before he tested positive for the coronavirus, state health officials revealed Sunday.
The New Jersey State Department of Health says the White House supplied state officials with a list of at least 206 people who were in attendance at the indoor fundraiser.
“DOH has reached out to these individuals to make them aware of possible exposure and recommend that they self-monitor for symptoms and quarantine if they were in close contact with the President and his staff,” the department tweeted Sunday.
The White House learned of Hope Hicks’ positive coronavirus test — and exposure to the virus by President Donald Trump and others — before Trump arrived in New Jersey for the event, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said, but allowed the event to go forward anyway.
Somerset County officials have begun interviewing staff who work at the Bedminster club to determine possible contact with the president and his staff. The DOH says the majority of the club’s staff live within the county.
“We urge everyone who attended yesterday’s event in Bedminster to take full precautions, including self-quarantining and getting tested,” Gov. Phil Murphy said Friday. Those in attendance looking to take a diagnostic test have been encouraged to wait 5-7 days and isolate up to 14 days if they believe they came in close contact with the president or anyone who has since tested positive.
The Republican National Committee, in a statement Friday morning, said everyone who attended Thursday’s Bedminster event was tested for COVID-19, passed a temperature screening and was six feet or more from the president at all times.
Some people who live in the area of Bedminster expressed their frustration at what happened, including one mother who lives just a few miles from the golf course.
“I’m filled with anger and emotion,” said Larua Whalen. “As a leader, you’re supposed to have good behavior. He didn’t wear a mask, he didn’t social distance. He’s encouraged others not to. He’s been holding all these rallies.”
Coronavirus hit very close to home for Whalen: She lost her husband to the virus, and she wound up in the hospital and on oxygen herself.
The mayor of Bedminster Township said in a statement that the town “has initiated contact tracing and is looking to identify close contacts and potential exposures at the the fundraising event.”
“Bedminster anticipates full cooperation from the Trump Organization and from all those who attended the event. The information disclosed during contact tracing remains confidential,” said Mayor Larry Jacobs. “Bedminster Township wishes the President and the First Lady, and all who are affected with COVID-19, a full and speedy recovery.”