After flying to and from Duluth on Air Force One with President Donald Trump on Wednesday, Minnesota's three Republican congressman have all tested negative for COVID-19.
Trump is at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, "out of an abundance of caution," his White House staff said Friday. The president tested positive for COVID-19 late Thursday, meaning he was likely infected with the virus and contagious when U.S. reps. Pete Stauber, Tom Emmer and Jim Hagedorn traveled on Air Force One with him.
Also on the flight were First Lady Melania Trump and one of Trump's aides, Hope Hicks, both of whom also tested positive for the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2.
Despite the potential exposures, all three Minnesota Republican congressman were together on a Delta flight from Washington, D.C. to Minneapolis on Friday, per reports, thus breaking the airline's COVID-19 safety protocols that prohibits flying if a person has had a known exposure to COVID-19. The policy states:
To protect the safety of all our customers, we cannot allow anyone to fly who knows they have been exposed to COVID-19 in the past two weeks. To travel with us, you must agree that you are not aware that you and, to your knowledge, those in your itinerary have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
Exposure is considered:
- Any face-to-face contact with an infected individual, or
- Sustained contact for 15+ minutes, at less than 6 feet, within 48 hours prior to the individual’s symptom onset or while symptomatic
Hagedorn, Stauber and Emmer all tested negative (Stauber has had 2 negative tests), but according to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), asymptomatic individuals should wait 5-7 days after an exposure to get tested. Anyone with symptoms should seek out a test immediately.
"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," MDH said in a release Friday, encouraging everyone who attended the Trump rally in Duluth to get tested.
St. Louis County public health officials note that a COVID test is a point-in-time indicator, so if a person is tested too soon, their result may be negative even though they could be infected and contagious.
A spokesperson from Hagedorn's camp told Bring Me The News that there are no plans to further test Hagedorn.
"According to CDC guidelines there was no requirement for Rep. Hagedorn to be tested today, but he did so out of an abundance of caution. No additional COVID tests have been ordered for him by either his personal doctor or the Attending Physician of the U.S. Congress at this time," the spokesperson said in an email.
According to the Star Tribune, the Delta flight the congressmen were on was less than 40% full.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt have both said they are quarantining after meeting with President Trump on Wednesday.