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Coronavirus patient attended same Maryland conservative political conference as Trump

Maryland officials on Saturday reported that a patient who has tested positive for the new coronavirus attended the recent Conservative Political Action Conference in the state’s Washington suburbs, a major political event attended by big-name conservative politicians — including President Donald Trump.

The Maryland Department of Health was notified of the patient’s attendance at the event, held in National Harbor in Prince George’s County between Feb. 27 and March 1, by the New Jersey Department of Health, said Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s office in a statement.

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The conference pitches itself as “the largest and most influential gathering of conservatives in the world.”

Trump, a Republican, was a speaker at the event, which was also attended by Vice President Mike Pence. Hogan, also a Republican, did not attend.

The White House says there is no indication that either Trump or Pence was in close proximity to the attendee who tested positive.

Cases of coronavirus touching on the Washington, D.C., area arose Saturday, but Trump said he wasn’t concerned that the virus was getting closer to the nation’s capital and the White House.

Asked if he was concerned about the virus getting closer, Trump said: “No, I’m not concerned at all. No, I’m not. We’ve done a great job.”

When asked whether he would continue campaign rallies in light of the CPAC case, the president replied, “We’ll have tremendous rallies.” He has a campaign rally coming up next week in Reno, Nevada.

Hogan’s office said those who attended or worked at the conference “may be at some risk for acquiring" the novel respiratory disease.

“Immediately after learning of this individual’s interactions in our state, we began coordinating with the White House, the CDC and federal officials, the New Jersey Department of Health, Prince George’s County officials, and conference organizers,” Hogan said. “Due to the scale of this conference, we are urging attendees who are experiencing flu-like symptoms to immediately reach out to their health care provider."

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“We are providing this update not to unnecessarily raise alarm, but in the interest of full transparency and out of an abundance of caution,” Hogan said.

The state’s health department recommended that anyone who attended the event take their temperatures twice a day and “monitor themselves for symptoms of a respiratory infection including fever, cold-like symptoms, cough, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.”

They should notify their health care provider and local health department if their temperature exceeds 100.4 or if they develop respiratory illness.

“They should remain at home until they receive instructions about next steps from their health care provider or local health department,” Hogan’s office said.

Those with questions should call 2-1-1 to talk to a helpline representative.

As of Saturday, Maryland has three confirmed cases of coronavirus.

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The District of Columbia said Saturday it has recorded its first case of coronavirus.

In a tweet, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser said testing at the public health lab of the D.C. Department of Forensic Sciences yielded its first presumptive positive coronavirus case.

Late Saturday, a spokesman for Hogan confirmed that a fourth patient was being treated for the virus in Maryland, after leaving the District of Columbia and presenting himself at a Maryland hospital. Mike Ricci, Hogan’s spokesman, would not identify the hospital where the man was being treated. He said the case was formally being counted as a district case — the second — and not Maryland’s fourth.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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