One mile separated a Tampa COVID-19 case from fundraiser attended by Gov. Cooper

Governor Roy Cooper. Photo by Robert Clark North State Journal

RALEIGH — A 70-year-old man who tested positive in Broward County but was in Tampa around the same time Gov. Roy Cooper earlier this month.

The unidentified Broward County man had attended an EMS conference at the Tampa Bay Convention Center during the days of March 4-6.

Cooper was caught on camera by a campaign tracker attending a fundraiser at the Oxford Exchange restaurant in Tampa on March 5.

The Tampa Bay Convention Center is located at 420 West Kennedy Blvd. and the Oxford Restaurant is located at 333 South Franklin St. The two venues are only a mile apart.

North State Journal emailed the governor’s office to ascertain if Cooper had been tested or not but received no acknowledgment and no reply. Two follow-up phone calls to the Cooper press office also received no response.

As of March 12, Cooper’s campaign announced that all in-person campaign events would be suspended for the next 30 days due to COVID-19.

Preparation measures related to the virus are being taken at various levels of government and within state offices as well as at the General Assembly.

Last month, Cooper announced the formation of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force in an effort to monitor and respond to the virus. Since that time, multiple cases of coronavirus have been reported in North Carolina. The majority of the cases were identified in Wake County.

On March 10, Cooper declared a state of emergency making it possible for the state to take advantage of federal funds and officially memorializing the NC COVID-19 taskforce. The governor’s executive order declaring an emergency also put anti-price gouging measures into effect and made it possible for monitoring, testing and emergency services to be engaged.

The office of North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) released a memo on March 12 regarding the General Assembly’s response to ongoing developments related to COVID-19 in the state. “The General Assembly has full technological capability to continue operations remotely in accordance with advice of health experts who are encouraging employees in the Triangle region to work from home,” Moore said in a statement.

A joint memo released by leadership offices of the General Assembly and the Legislative Services Office recommends that “no committee, commission or task force meetings be held until Wednesday, April 1, 2020, at the earliest.”

School group tours of legislative facilities are also discontinued until April 1, 2020.

“North Carolina is well-prepared financially to support all recommended prevention and relief efforts to keep our people safe from harm. Lawmakers stand ready to approve robust policy and budgetary action to support frontline healthcare professionals as may become necessary,” said Moore.

The memo also makes telecommuting an option “effective immediately” to legislative employees who agree to appropriate arrangements with their supervisors. The memo says that “the people’s work must go on” and that teleworking accommodations will go on until at least the end of the business day on Tuesday, March 31, 2020.

The White House announced President Donald Trump tested negative for the virus over the weekend following repeated questions from reporters after interaction with individuals who later tested positive. Multiple lawmakers across the country who have some degree of exposure have chosen to quarantine themselves as a precaution and to avoid potentially infecting others.

About A.P. Dillon 279 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_