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COVID Contact Tracing Is Crucial After Trump's Minnesota Visit

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- President Trump's recent diagnosis of COVID-19 means potentially hundreds could have been exposed to the virus.

So what should you do if you or someone you know has been exposed to the virus for any reason?

WCCO talked with world renowned infectious disease expert, Dr. Michael Osterholm, who works at the University of Minnesota.

It's a virus with a mind of its own and Dr. Osterholm says we may be only one fifth of the way through it.

"We've got a long ways to go, a long ways," he said.

Osterholm says he was not surprised to hear the president tested positive for COVID-19.

"Trying to protect the president with the program they had using these antigen tests was a lot like giving the secret service squirt guns and telling them to protect him against assassins," he said.

Now he says amidst a debate and campaign travels, the challenge is to find out who all was exposed - and negative test results don't mean people are positively OK.

"There is no get out of jail free card," he said. "You could test negative today, tomorrow and the following day and then on day five, six or seven become positive and actually become infectious."

The health department has investigators who try and figure out who has been in close contact with COVID carriers, but because of aerosols, this virus is once again troubling.

"It's not just as simple as saying 'I was not near John Doe for more than 15 minutes and six feet, I was in the same room for a couple hours' - well that may be more than sufficient to transmit the virus," he said.

Dr. Osterholm recommends anyone who attended Trump festivities in Minnesota to get a nasal swab COVID test about five days out and to quarantine.

The CDC suggests quarantining for 14 days after possible exposure.

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