The governor of Oklahoma announced Wednesday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus, weeks after he attended US President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in the state.
Cases have surged in Oklahoma, and local health officials have said that Trump’s indoor rally and large public protests in June “more than likely” contributed to the spike in new infections.
Governor Kevin Stitt said he believes he is the first US governor to be diagnosed with coronavirus, but that it was unlikely he contracted it at Trump’s June 20 rally because the event occurred too long ago.
The 47-year-old Republican said he immediately placed himself in quarantine away from his family and will work from home until he is free of the virus.
Stitt has often declined to wear a mask at meetings and did not wear one at the Trump rally, but he is urging residents to take precautions.
“We know it’s here in Oklahoma, it’s not going away,” Stitt said.
“We need to take this virus seriously” and Oklahomans should “continue to get tested,” he added.
Trump faced major blowback for insisting on holding a crowded indoor rally in the heat of a pandemic.
His campaign handed out masks at the Tulsa event, but few of the supporters who attended wore them and social distancing guidelines were largely ignored.