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Dr. Cohen responds to RNC, asks for more information on COVID-19 safety plan

NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said the state will support the hosting of the RNC as long as it can be done safely.

RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen responded Friday to the Republican National Convention's coronavirus safety plan. Cohen asked for more information from the RNC on how it plans to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during the event set for late August in Charlotte. She said the state will continue to support the hosting of the event as long as it can be done safely. 

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"We would ask that the RNC further elaborate on its plans to protect convention participants and the people of Charlotte in accordance with the CDC guidance," Cohen wrote in the letter

She also asked the following questions: 

  • How many delegates, alternates, elected officials, guests and media do you expect to be in attendance inside the Spectrum Center for each night of the Convention? How does the RNC plan to have participants social distance while in the Spectrum Center? 
  • How will the RNC implement health screenings, social distancing, face coverings, hand hygiene and other cleaning protocols at all RNC sanctioned events in the Charlotte area, including welcome parties, state party events, media events, finance events, caucus meetings, committee meetings, receptions and other party business meetings and gatherings? 
  • During our phone conversation on Tuesday, May 26, you indicated a desire from President Trump to hold Thursday’s nomination event with “people together in a crowdlike setting” and without social distancing or face coverings for attendees. While the letter did not address this specifically, is this still the intent? You also mentioned testing for all participants before they enter the Spectrum Center for the Thursday event. Is this still a consideration? Would this be limited to Thursday night or would it apply to the other nights of the Convention? 
  • How will the RNC isolate individuals who do not pass the thermal and health screenings outlined in the letter? How will contact tracing be conducted for others with whom they may have come in contact? 
  • Given the evidence of asymptomatic spread of COVID-19, what additional precautions will the RNC take to prevent spread of the virus?

In a letter to Gov. Cooper on Thursday, the RNC proposed some safety guidelines while also calling on Cooper to lead the charge. 

The letter included these proposed healthcare safety guidelines from the RNC:

  • Thermal scans of all mandatory attendees prior to boarding sanitized, pre-arranged transportation
  • Our planned transportation buses will be dropped off at the Charlotte Convention Center which will act as a mandatory hub for a final health care screening by health care officials
  • All attendees would have to pass a clean health check prior to entering the dedicate chute to the Spectrum Arena

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