Sixth person present at AIPAC conference diagnosed with coronavirus
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Sixth person present at AIPAC conference diagnosed with coronavirus

Maryland announces 3 new cases in state, including man in his 60s who worked at recent policy gathering

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) 2020 policy conference in Washington, DC, March 2, 2020. (AP/Jose Luis Magana)
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) 2020 policy conference in Washington, DC, March 2, 2020. (AP/Jose Luis Magana)

The state of Maryland announced Wednesday that it has diagnosed three new cases on the deadly novel coronavirus, including one man who worked at the recent AIPAC conference.

At least six people have now tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, after returning from last week’s America Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference, including attendees from Cleveland and Toronto.

Governor Larry Hogan said in a statement that the AIPAC worker, a Baltimore County resident in his 60s, is not hospitalized.

The two other new cases in the state are a Montgomery County resident in his 20s who recently traveled to Spain, also not hospitalized, and a Prince George’s County resident in his 60s who is in the hospital. The statement said the latter’s “travel history is under investigation.”

“The State of Maryland now has 12 confirmed cases of COVID-19,” Hogan said in the statement. “The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) has notified local officials regarding these cases and begun investigating potential exposure risk to the community.”

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan during a news conference about the spread of the coronavirus, in Annapolis, Maryland, March 6, 2020. (Brian Witte/AP)

Earlier this week two AIPAC attendees were diagnosed with COVID-19.

One is a Cleveland-area man in his 50s who is an employee of the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland. He traveled to the conference on a bus with other members of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, the Federation said in a statement Monday to the Cleveland Jewish News.

The Federation said the man was quarantined and that the Jewish Education Center offices will be closed for two weeks as a precaution. People who were on the bus with the man were urged to self-quarantine, as were students from the Fuchs Mizrachi School in Beachwood who attended AIPAC and were in contact with him.

Also Monday, the Beth Sholom Synagogue in Toronto, Canada, said that one of its lay leaders had tested positive. Canadian media reports said the man had traveled to AIPAC, although the statement did not confirm this. The Toronto synagogue was closed for disinfecting and Purim festivities were canceled. A local lawmaker who attended AIPAC and was in contact with the man announced he was putting himself in self-quarantine as a precaution.

US health authorities said Saturday that they had not identified a risk to AIPAC conference attendees, after the pro-Israel lobby group said at least two people who attended its policy conference have tested positive for the coronavirus.

AIPAC sent out a statement from the DC Health Department, which read: “Based on our investigation thus far, in collaboration with the New York State Department of Health (NYSDH), there is no identified risk to conference attendees at this time.”

Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg speaks at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) 2020 Conference, March 2, 2020 in Washington. (AP/Alex Brandon)

The lobbying group said Friday that two people from New York who attended the conference had tested positive. And on Saturday the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said a local resident had also tested positive after returning.

AIPAC on Friday warned Congress, the Trump administration, activists and others about the virus infections, raising fears that politicians, including US Vice President Mike Pence, could have been exposed. Then-Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg also addressed the conference.

Israel, which has implemented strict quarantine rules for anyone entering the country and has previously ordered retroactive quarantines, has also not issued specific guidance for AIPAC conference attendees.

The annual conference, which ran from February 28 to March 2, drew 18,000 people to Washington, DC.

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