Byron Donalds tests positive for COVID-19 ahead of president’s event in Fort Myers

District 19 candidate Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) has tested positive for the coronavirus Friday, the Republican nominee confirmed.

Donalds learned he was positive for COVID-19 ahead of attending President Donald Trump’s invitation-only event in Fort Myers.

“I was given a COVID-19 quick test, per White House staff protocol, and results were positive,” Donalds said in his Facebook post. “I proceeded to take a PCR antigen test, and those results have come back positive as well. My wife and oldest son were both tested today, and their results are negative. I currently feel fine, but am taking all necessary precautions and will be quarantining at home. We have notified the organizers of the events I have attended in recent days. I look forward to recovering fully and earning the support of voters on Nov. 3.”

It’s White House protocol for anyone who will be close to the president to get tested for COVID-19.

Donalds was supposed to be at the president’s event but was unable to after he tested positive for COVID-19.

We know Donalds was at a large event in Collier County eight days ago. He was at a Trump campaign event with about 250 people in attendance. Many people there did not wear masks or social distance.

We don’t currently know when Donalds contracted COVID-19. We’ve reached out to people at the event to see if they’ve also tested positive or if they’ve been tested since.

We were at the Trump campaign event at the Veterans of Foreign Wars building in Golden Gate Estates last Thursday. We asked Donalds if he was concerned the event could be a superspreader, and he told us he wasn’t at the time.

“I’m actually not concerned about that,” Donalds told us at the Trump campaign event. “Again, people here have to take responsibility for their health care. If you’re sick, don’t come here.”

Donalds shared pictures from the event. We know other big names were there as well, including South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, State Attorney Amira Fox in Lee County, and Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno.

We talked to Donalds’ District 19 opponent, Democrat Cindy Banyai, after learning Donalds had tested positive for COVID-19.

“I hoped that him and his family were doing well because this is not a disease that I would want anybody to catch,” Banyai said.

Banyai hopes contact tracing begins immediately.

“I’m also encouraging anybody that has been in contact with them to also quarantine and to get tested,” Banyai said. “Just so that we can mitigate the spread around Southwest Florida.

We reached out to Byron Donalds but have not heard back. The Trump campaign said it will get back to us. We are awaiting a response from Lee County Sheriff’s Office and State Attorney Amira Fox. South Dakota’s governor did tell WINK News she has tested negative for COVID-19. The head of the East Lee County Republicans was also there, and he has not been tested but said he has no symptoms. Finally, the commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Golden Gate Estates declined to comment.

Reporter:Justin Kase
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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