The Minnesota Department of Health issued this statement today addressing questions about the public health response after news of President Trump and others testing positive for COVID-19 after recently visiting Minnesota.
Our thoughts are with President Trump, the First Lady and others as they deal with COVID-19 infections. We wish them a speedy and full recovery.
The public health response to this development is the same as it would be for any other situation involving positive cases and close contacts. While we work with other public health departments collaboratively, our department does not get involved in the contact tracing for President Trump and his staff, or for others who are not Minnesota residents. Our focus is on contact tracing and case investigations for Minnesota residents.
There is a potential risk that transmission occurred at the Duluth rally and other events associated with President Trump’s visit. Community transmission of COVID-19 was high in St. Louis County prior to this week’s rally, and people attending the rally may have been infectious without realizing it.
We know many who attended events may have questions about what to do next. Our guidance is as follows:
• Anyone who attended events associated with the President’s visit and who now has symptoms should get tested right away. People should consider getting tested even if they do not have symptoms because some people may not develop or recognize symptoms and people can spread the virus even without displaying symptoms. People should get tested five to seven days after the event. If they test negative, they should get tested again around 12 days after the event. People should get tested in their home communities and seek testing from their health care provider when possible.
• Anyone who was a direct contact of President Trump or known COVID-19 cases needs to quarantine and should get tested. It is important to understand that quarantine for 14 days is necessary regardless of test results.
• Anyone who attended any large group gathering, especially one with limited social distancing and/or masking, should be alert to potential symptoms of COVID-19 infection, and limit social interactions for 14 days. This is true even if they feel no symptoms of illness.
There are a number of locations around the state to get a COVID-19 test. Any Minnesotan wishing to be tested in the Duluth area can get a test at the testing site set up at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC). There will also be seven community testing sites around the state next week on October 6-8, including in Cloquet and Inver Grove Heights. See more information on the Minnesota Department of Health website at COVID-19 Community Testing.