BEDMINSTER — Officials are warning people, including the parents of school children, to take serious precautions if they had exposure to anyone connected to President Donald Trump's visit to Bedminster last week. Trump has been hospitalized with the coronavirus since the Thursday event.
The state Department of Health said it has received information from the management of Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster and the White House. The White House gave New Jersey officials the names of at least 206 people who attended the events.
The DOH has reached out to these people 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, officials said.
State health officials are interviewing staff members of the club and assessing the level of contact they had with the president and his staff, and providing public health recommendations accordingly, officials said.
Attendees who are seeking a test should consider waiting at least five to seven days from the event. While the risk is low, a negative test earlier than that time cannot definitively rule out that COVID-19 will not develop, health officials said.
Those who are concerned that they were in close contact should quarantine for 14 days.
News 12 reported that text messages were sent to parents of children at schools in the Far Hills area urging anyone who attended Trump's golf club over the last 48 hours to keep their children home.
The White House medical unit was taking the lead on contact tracing the donors who attended Trump's fundraiser, including employees who may be at risk for the coronavirus, according to The Asbury Park Press. The Republican National Committee provided New Jersey officials with a list of the names and email addresses of the guests, but the list "was not sufficient," the report said.
Organizers also sent an email to attendees informing them of Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis and encouraging them to "contact your medical provider if you or any of your loved ones is ill or develops a fever, shortness of breath, or other respiratory symptoms,” according to Politico.
Gov. Phil Murphy has also said that contact tracing is underway to determine if anyone else was infected or exposed. "We urge everyone who attended yesterday's event in Bedminster to take full precautions, including self-quarantining and getting tested," Murphy said.
Trump went to the fundraiser at his golf club in New Jersey after he was exposed to the coronavirus, Murphy's office has confirmed.
The president and his family were tested after White House adviser Hope Hicks was shown to be positive for the COVID-19 virus just hours after traveling with the president.
After White House officials learned of Hicks’s symptoms, Trump flew Thursday to New Jersey, where he attended the fundraiser at his golf club in Bedminster and delivered a speech, officials said.
Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, said the trip was deemed "safe" for Trump and others because he was socially distanced and it was an outdoor event.
. @PressSec on President Trump's New Jersey trip yesterday: "It was deemed safe for the president to go. He socially distanced. It was an outdoor event and it was deemed safe...White House Operations made the assessment it was safe for the president in consultation with others." pic.twitter.com/xcltfqiWx0
— CSPAN (@cspan) October 2, 2020
At the fundraiser, one attendee told The New York Times that Trump came in contact with about 100 people, and he seemed "lethargic." Another attendee, however, offered another point of view.
. @JrzyJoePiscopo on @news12nj. He was at NJ Trump fundraiser. Says Pres wore no mask. "I didn't see anybody close to the President except Secret Service. He came out from the doorway, went to the Presidential podium and spoke, turned around and went right back to Marine One."
— Kurt Siegelin (@kurtsiegelin) October 2, 2020
Trump's schedule said he arrived in Morristown Municipal Airport around 2 p.m. Thursday and then traveled to Trump National Golf Club, where he attended the roundtable and fundraiser between 2:30 and 4 p.m. He then departed Morristown around 5 p.m.
Former Gov. Chris Christie also said he has been near Trump and Hicks, and he was later diagnosed with the coronavirus and hospitalized. Read more: Ex-NJ Gov. Chris Christie Hospitalized After COVID-19 Diagnosis
Trump has for months played down the severity of the virus and told a political dinner more than a week ago that “the end of the pandemic is in sight.”
Somerset County Democrats, who represent the Bedminster area, made note of Trump's decision to attend the fundraiser despite his exposure to Hicks, saying: “While this is completely irresponsible behavior for anyone, for the president of the United States to risk the health and lives of his own supporters, their families, their neighbors and the workers and wait staff at his club is unfathomably selfish."
“The Somerset County Department of Health must immediately begin contact tracing and identify everyone who was at the Bedminster Golf Club with President Trump and order them to self-isolate," the statement said. "If the Trump Campaign will not assist Somerset County in determining the risk to our residents, we call on the local Republican leadership to do so for the health of their own members and communities."
The president has pushed publicly for reopening the country fully despite stubbornly high levels of cases. The announcement that the president tested positive is sure to raise concerns nationally about reopening businesses and schools — both key pushes from the president as the disease has spread.
Patch Staffers Paige Austin and Bea Karnes contributed to this report.