Trump’s entourage spent several hours in a hotel prior to Tuesday’s debate.
Trump and his traveling entourage stayed several hours prior to the debate at the Cleveland Clinic at the InterContinental Suites Hotel Cleveland, one of several hotels near or on campus of the world-class medical facility used by people for work and medical purposes procedures traveled to the clinic.
Intelligence officials posted in the building’s lobby and elevators during the President’s time were all wearing masks, as were other campaign officials seen earlier that day. And the hotel had enforced its mask requirements and mandatory temperature controls on guests and hotel staff in the days leading up to the debate.
Trump arrived at the hotel at 4:46 p.m. on Tuesday after his debate and, according to the White House reporters traveling with the President, left for the discussion site almost four hours later at 8:27 p.m.
A hotel spokesman told ABC News that the White House group “was in a dedicated area within the hotel and not limited to interacting with hotel colleagues or other guests.”
However, one of the special areas for White House and Campaign staff was stationed in the main area near the hotel restaurant and accessible to hotel guests.
“Our thoughts go out to all Americans affected by COVID, including the President and the First Lady. While members of this group were not overnight guests on our property and were only briefly on site, we have taken the necessary steps to maintain hygiene standards Hotel, including improved cleaning and disinfection procedures, “said a hotel spokesman, adding that the hotel is following the instructions of the” relevant “health authorities and remains open to guests.
The hotel did not respond to further questions about why members of the Trump tour group were allowed to walk around in public places in the hotel without a mask, or whether guests or employees were officially informed of the president’s trip or offered tests after his positive COVID-19 diagnosis. It is unclear if someone has been infected or if someone has quarantined.
The hotel confirmed to ABC News on Saturday that masks are mandatory in indoor public areas.
Trump and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, two days after the debate, according to the White House. Stepien received his positive diagnosis on Friday evening.
Senior White House adviser Hope Hicks, who traveled to Cleveland with the president, tested positive Thursday morning.
A person infected with COVID-19 can be contagious several days before symptoms appear, said Dr. Nasia Safdar, Infectious Disease Expert at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Medical and Public Health School and Medical Director of Infection Control at UW Hospital and Clinics.
“There is no question that White House staff should wear masks,” said Dr. Leana Wen, a professor at the George Washington University School of Public Health and former Baltimore health commissioner, told ABC News. “Even so, because of the short exposure time, there is minimal risk of overtaking someone or sharing an elevator with them.”
The Cleveland Clinic urged debate participants to get a negative PCR test result from the hospital within 72 hours of the debate, even though both Trump and Biden campaigns were responsible for testing everyone who came with it on Tuesday Both candidates traveled to the debate, the clinic said in a statement.
Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace, who moderated the debate, told Fox News on Friday that organizers were relying on an “honor system” to ensure the campaigns did not bring infected people to the talk page.
The Trump campaign and the White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.