Debate attendees scramble to get COVID-19 tests after many flouted mask rules
Approximately 100 people were in attendance at the debate.
Many of those who attended the first presidential debate on Tuesday night are anxiously awaiting COVID-19 test results, as the White House launches a contact tracing effort to identify possible exposures in the wake of President Donald Trump's positive coronavirus diagnosis.
Approximately 100 people were in attendance for the contentious debate, where Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden clashed for over 90 minutes.
A number of precautions were taken to try to mitigate the dangers of COVID-19 between the candidates. The two men did not shake hands upon entering the stage, and spoke from two socially distanced lecterns. However, Biden, Trump and the moderator, journalist Chris Wallace, did not wear masks during their time on stage.
All attendees were required to wear surgical masks in the debate hall. However, several Trump family members, Republican guests and White House officials removed their masks once inside the debate hall and ignored requests from organizers to wear them.
First lady Melania Trump, four of the president's children -- Eric, Ivanka, Tiffany and Donald Trump Jr. -- and their significant others -- Lara Trump and Kimberly Guilfoyle -- entered the hall wearing masks, but removed them once seated. At least Ivanka and Trump Jr. are known to have tested negative Friday.
Also in the audience was White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, neither of whom wore a face covering. Meadows shook hands and conversed closely with several guests prior to the start of the debate, even offering two attendees hand sanitizer following their conversations. Jordan was seen on camera touching his face.
Jordan and Meadows both announced on Friday they had tested negative for the virus.
Several top Trump officials, including White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, White House adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and aide Hope Hicks, who tested positive for the virus a day after the debate, were seen in social media posts watching the debate in a "war room" without masks or social distancing.
Kushner and McEnany are also known to have tested negative since the news of Hicks' diagnosis.
Several Democrats were also in attendance in support of Biden. However, all attendees in view, who were sitting in the section reserved for Democrats, wore face coverings.
Dr. Jill Biden kept her mask on for the entirety of the debate, as did Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez and Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan. Perez and Ryan both said Friday they had tested negative.
Both Bidens tested negative for COVID-19 on Friday, according to the campaign.
Cleveland Clinic, which hosted the first presidential debate with Case Western Reserve University, said in a statement on Friday that they "believe there is a low risk of exposure to our guests," but are reaching out to address their concerns, and offering more testing.
All attendees were required to obtain a negative COVID-19 PCR test on the hospital campus to gain admission to the debate site. However, that requirement did not apply to the candidates or their traveling parties, as the campaigns were responsible for their own testing.
Further, according to the statement, the site "had several requirements to maintain a safe environment that align with CDC guidelines -- including temperature checks, hand sanitizing, social distancing and masking."
"Individuals entering the debate hall were masked, and in some cases removed their masks once seated. A Cleveland Clinic physician did offer audience members masks, but some did not adhere to the requirement," Andrea Pacetti, a clinic spokeswoman, told ABC News.
The city of Cleveland announced Friday that they are aware of 11 positive cases of COVID-19 following the Sept. 29 presidential debate, stemming from predebate planning and set-up. However, they noted that these individuals, who were members of the media and crew workers, never entered the debate hall.
A pool reporter observed a Cleveland Clinic doctor in a white lab coat first approach Trump family guests, asking them to wear a mask. "She offered them one in case they didn't get one. She never approached the family, but as she got closer to them, someone shook their head, and no one she reminded to put on a mask ended up putting one on."
According to the reporter, several guests sitting in the Democratic section, including Dr. Biden and Delaware Sen. Chris Coons, looked over.
"Trump family members began to ask their guests what had happened," according to the pool reporter. "When the doctor, who refused to comment to the press, walked off the floor, a debate hall staffer told her, 'That's all you can do.'"
So far, there have been no reports of anyone who has tested positive as a result of exposure from inside the debate hall.
ABC News' Ben Siegel, Will Steakin and Katherine Faulders contributed to this report.