Dozens of Secret Service officers and agents who were on site for President Trump’s rally in Tulsa last week were ordered to self-quarantine after two of their colleagues tested positive for the novel coronavirus, part of the fallout from Trump’s insistence on holding the mass gathering over the objections of public health officials.
The Secret Service instructed employees who worked the Tulsa event to stay at home for 14 days when they returned from the weekend trip, according to two people familiar with the agency’s decision.
The order came in the wake of the discovery — hours before the president’s Saturday evening rally — that at least six advance staffers who helped organize the trip had tested positive for the virus, including two Secret Service employees. Another two advance staffers tested positive after Trump returned to Washington on Sunday.
On Tuesday, the Secret Service field office in Tulsa arranged for a special testing session at a local hospital to determine if local agents had contracted the virus while assisting with the rally, according to two other people with knowledge of the testing. As part of the arrangement, doctors administered the test to both agents and some local officials in parked cars outside the hospital.
Among those who got tested was U.S. Attorney R. Trent Shores of the Northern District of Oklahoma, who had attended both pre-planning meetings with advance staff and the rally in case any legal issues arose, according to spokeswoman Lennea Montandon. Shores tested negative, she said.
It is still unknown how the rally may have impacted Tulsa’s count of coronavirus cases, which are rising swiftly. Tulsa County hit a new record Wednesday, with 259 new confirmed cases, part of “steep upward trends” seen across Oklahoma, said Bruce Dart, the director of Tulsa’s health department, at a news conference Wednesday.
The move by the Secret Service to try to limit the spread of the infection shows how Trump’s decision to go forward with the rally increased the health risks and burden on the people who protect the president, former agents said.
A Secret Service spokeswoman declined to comment on how many of its employees have tested positive or were quarantined, but said that the Tulsa event has not affected the agency’s ability to do its job.
“The U.S. Secret Service remains prepared and staffed to fulfill all of the various duties as required,” agency spokeswoman Catherine Milhoan said in a statement.