Oklahoma Reporter Tests Positive for Coronavirus After Covering Trump Rally

An Oklahoma reporter who covered President Donald Trump's Tulsa rally in June has now tested positive for the coronavirus, making him just the latest person to have attended the rally to contract COVID-19. Paul Monies, a reporter for the investigative nonprofit news organization the Oklahoma Watch, revealed his positive test results on Twitter on Friday. Monies says that he is feeling "fine" and has not experienced any symptoms.

Speaking with the Associated Press, Monies said that he "can't say definitively that I got it at the rally," though he said he contracted it from "someone I've been in contact with in the last two weeks." The rally was held at the BOK Center on June 20, falling within that time frame. Monies said that he was inside the arena reporting for roughly six hours and he wore a mask and practiced social distancing, aside from when he purchased a snack. He did not come within close proximity to the president. As he has not yet been contacted by contact traces, Monies said that he "spent a couple of hours reaching out to anyone I was in contact with indoors, a few friends in the neighborhood."

The June 20 rally had been mired in controversy and fear that it would pose a threat to those in attendance as coronavirus cases across the country began to rise. Those in attendance were not required to wear masks, though hand sanitizer was passed out to attendees, and a recent report from the Washington Post claimed that the president's campaign directed the removal of thousands of "Do Not Sit Here, Please!" stickers from seats, which were meant to encourage social distancing.

Just hours ahead of the rally, six staffers had tested positive for the coronavirus, including two members of the Secret Service who had attended a planning meeting alongside dozens of other Secret Service staff. Those two agents, as well as the other staffers who tested positive, did not attend the rally, though sources said that those who had been near them were still permitted to attend. Shortly after the rally, two additional staffers tested positive, and on June 25, it was revealed that dozens of Secret Service agents had been ordered to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Addressing the number of positive cases connected to the rally, White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement that "the president takes the health and safety of everyone traveling in support of himself and all White House operations very seriously." Within the last week, Oklahoma has reported record daily highs of positive coronavirus cases.