The chairman of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) confirmed that he had brief contact with an attendee of an event who has tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, but added that he is unaware of anyone else contracting the virus, including himself.
Matt Schlapp told the Washington Post and Fox News that he interacted with the COVID-19 patient but told the broadcaster that he had “incidental contact” with the attendee “very briefly.”
On the final day of the conference Saturday, Schlapp appeared on the stage with President Donald Trump and shook the presidents hand. In a Twitter post, he wrote that the “attendee who is now sick did not attend” the event on Saturday when Trump delivered his remarks.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told news outlets that neither Trump or Vice President Mike Pence were in “close proximity to the attendee” who was confirmed to have contracted COVID-19. And Trump told reporters that hes “not concerned at all” on Saturday, adding that he will still hold “tremendous rallies” in light of the worldwide outbreak.
“I can verify that he had no contact with either the president or the vice president,” Schlapp told Fox on Sunday. “I can tell you, when the president was on site at CPAC, he lives by what he tells us because I saw him scrub down his hands and clean his hands more than once while he was on the premises, and I did the same, by the way.”
Important Health Notification for CPAC 2020 participants and attendees. pic.twitter.com/NtahNO8st3
— ACU (@ACUConservative) March 7, 2020
Schlapp said he called everyone he knows who might have contacted the patient.
“Nobody who was at the conference should panic about what happened,” he said. “Were going to take all the necessary steps.”
On Saturday, the American Conservative Union, which hosts the high-profile CPAC, confirmed that one of its attendees tested positive and is now under quarantine. The conference was held on Feb. 26 to Feb. 29 in Fort Washington, Maryland, inside the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center.
“A New Jersey hospital tested the person, and CDC confirmed the positive result,” the organizer wrote in a statement. “The health and safety of our attendees and participants is our top priority,” the statement added. “Any attendee who has questions can contact ACU or the Department of Health for the State of Maryland.”
Other than Trump and Pence, other prominent figures included Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), presidential adviser and Trumps son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.