City of Cleveland Statement Regarding Post-Debate COVID-19 Cases- Update #194

The City of Cleveland is aware of positive cases of COVID-19 following the Sept. 29 presidential debate. In total, at this time, we are aware of 11 cases stemming from pre-debate planning and set-up, with the majority of cases occurring among out of state residents. At this time, though that could change, no City residents appear to have contracted the virus as a result of this event. 

As the cases involve people in and out of state some of whom may be continuing to travel, the City of Cleveland is working with the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the Cleveland Clinic. As part of CDPH’s process regarding COVID-19, any individuals who tested positive as part of the debate were contacted, interviewed when possible, issued isolation orders and provided guidance regarding their isolation period. There were also conversations with individuals who tested positive regarding their upcoming travel.

CDPH will continue to follow its contact tracing process which includes the following steps:

•        A person who has tested positive and is a Cleveland resident will be contacted by interview team who will confirm they are City residents.

•        They will then ask about who they live with, who they care for in and out of the home, who they work with and the type of work they do. 

•        They will also be asked if they participated in any mass gatherings of people.

•        In the event the person’s case stems from the debate, the individual will be asked: who they are employed by, who they were in contact with at the debate, how they got to the debate, how long they were there, if they did any traveling recently or attended any other mass gathering. 

We advise anyone who has come in contact with someone who has tested positive to selfquarantine. If anyone who was in attendance has concerns or is symptomatic, they should contact their healthcare provider.

We know there are measures that are effective to prevent the spread of infection that include wearing masks, maintaining proper social distancing and regular hand washing. With this event, we know a large number of those in attendance live in another state. That is why our partnerships with ODH and the CDC are vital.

It is important to note that everyone affiliated with the debate – with credentials to be in the event perimeter – was tested upon arrival. Only those with negative test results were allowed within the pavilion. While CDPH was not on-site for the debate, we were in contact with organizers and those responsible for enforcing safety measures inside the venue.