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Case Western, Cleveland Clinic address concerns after president tests positive days after debate

Posted at 3:48 PM, Oct 02, 2020

CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Clinic has been consistent about how we all can help limit exposure to the Coronavirus: wear a mask. However, during the Presidential Debate, the Clinic tried but ultimately didn’t fully enforce its own mandates.

“I was just worried because (President Trump has) been here so recently,” said Jillian Russo. She’s a student at Case Western Reserve University which was one of the hosts of the debate.

Shortly after the news of the President’s positive test, came word from the university. “We got an email…about increased testing which made me feel better,” said Russo.

However, many people don’t feel good about what happened inside the debate hall. Pictures do show the President’s family wearing masks at one point, but then taking them off during the event.

RELATED: Trump family did not wear masks night of the debate

“It’s unfortunate that you’re pushing this rule that we all have to follow for the safety of others, but it’s not that hard to wear a mask. So, just do it,” said voter Kathryn Cook.

“This debate is being conducted under health and safety protocols designed by the Cleveland Clinic,” said Moderator Chris Wallace at the start of the debate. He also pointed out the Clinic has that role for all presidential debates this year.

At the Cleveland debate, numerous people in attendance didn’t have masks on, including Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan.

We do know a Cleveland Clinic doctor started to approach the Trump family guests to wear a mask, even offering them one in case they didn’t get one, but no one she reminded to put on a mask ended up putting one on.

“I don’t think that’s setting the best example,” said Russo. “I was excited that (the debate) was being held here because it’s a cool opportunity for Cleveland to be in the spotlight. But now, I’m worried about how it’s all going to play out.”

Here’s Cleveland Clinic’s full statement:

“Our thoughts are with the President, First Lady and all of our guests. As health advisor to the Commission on Presidential Debates and the host site, we had requirements to maintain a safe environment that align with CDC guidelines- including social distancing, hand sanitizing, temperature checks and masking. Most importantly, everyone permitted inside the debate hall tested negative for COVID-19 prior to entry. Individuals traveling with both candidates, including the candidates themselves, had been tested and tested negative by their respective campaigns.

"Based on what we know about the virus and the safety measures we had in place, we believe there is low risk of exposure to our guests. Out of an abundance of caution we are reaching out to our guests to address any questions and concerns. We will continue to monitor the information being released by the White House.”

Here’s Case Western Reserve University’s Statement:

“Cleveland Clinic is the health security advisor for all of the debates. The hospital implemented extensive protocols before and during Tuesday's event to help ensure the well-being of all of those in attendance. The university appreciates the additional efforts Cleveland Clinic is taking today for attendees who might have concerns and/or questions.”