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Two who attended rally for Trump in Gastonia test positive for COVID-19

By Bryan Anderson

Associated Press/Report for America

RALEIGH — Two people who attended President Donald Trump’s rally last week in Gastonia have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to an announcement from the Gaston County Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday.

“These cases are not thought to be an indication of spread from the rally at this time, but rather two independent cases among individuals who were in attendance,” the department said in a statement.

The county health department recommends anyone who attended the president’s Oct. 21 rally to assess their own risk, monitor for symptoms and get tested if necessary.

It said it has contacted other locations the two individuals have been to and is working to notify close contacts of the infected rallygoers. The information is being publicly released because the department is unable to directly inform the thousands of attendees.

“Because of the large number of potential contacts from the rally, and the inability to alert them directly, the community is being notified so they can assess their own risk and take appropriate actions,” the department wrote.

The news comes days before the Nov. 3 presidential election. North Carolina is a key battleground Trump needs to win to boost his prospects of defeating Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

Trump’s campaign has fought aggressively to win the state by bringing several of Trump’s family members and the president himself to the state for repeated visits.

Trump was scheduled to hold a rally in Fayetteville on Thursday night alongside First Lady Melania Trump. The campaign announced the event would be postponed until Monday “because of a wind advisory issued with gusts reaching 50 miles per hour and other weather conditions.”

Vice President Mike Pence held a rally in Greensboro on Tuesday. Tiffany Trump spoke in Charlotte on Tuesday, followed by Ivanka Trump the next day. Eric and Donald Trump Jr. have also frequented the state this month with campaign appearances. Event volunteers have increasingly handed out face masks, though the campaign has not mandated rallygoers wear them.

Biden’s campaign has hosted a small number of in-person events in North Carolina highlighted by small crowds, lots of masks and social distancing.

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