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Hit by COVID-19 infection, Trump cancels campaign stop in Tucson

President Donald Trump, who has tested positive for COVID-19, has called off a planned Monday campaign stop in Tucson, and also cancelled other political trips.

Trump had been scheduled to speak at an evening rally at Tucson International Airport, and another rally Tuesday evening in Flagstaff.

While the White House and Trump campaign did not initially release a statement specifically cancelling the Arizona campaign swing — and the president's re-election site was still allowing potential attendees to sign up with their emails and phone numbers on Friday morning — officials at TIA said Friday morning it was "our understanding" that the event will not be held.

"All previously announced campaign events involving the president's participation are in the process of being moved to virtual events or are being temporarily postponed," said Bill Stepien, Trump's campaign manager, in a statement released midday Friday. Events involving the Trump family are also being "temporarily postponed," he said.

At 2:20 p.m. Friday, those who signed up to attend the Tucson rally were emailed that it was "postponed and will be rescheduled."

"All other campaign events will be considered on a case-by-case basis and we will make any relevant announcements in the days ahead," said Stepien, who recently replaced Brad Parscale, the technical architect of Trump's first campaign who was tapped to lead the re-election effort. "Vice President Mike Pence, who has tested negative for COVID-19, plans on resuming his scheduled campaign events. Any further information about the president will come from the White House."

Late Thursday, as Trump tweeted that he and wife Melania Trump had been diagnosed as carrying the coronavirus, the White House changed his plans for Friday, eliminating a planned campaign trip to Florida from his public schedule. Trump, who reportedly has "mild symptoms," and his doctor said he would "quarantine," but the White House has not released specific details.

Recent polls show former Vice President Joe Biden with a substantial lead over Trump in what has become an important swing state in the election. Arizona's 11 electoral votes may be a factor in determining the winner.

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Biden announced Friday that he has recently tested negative for the virus. The Democratic candidate and VP candidate Kamala Harris had been scheduled to travel to Arizona on Thursday, but more detailed plans have not been made public.

Trump has attacked early voting procedures in many states, saying they create the opportunity for fraud. The deadline to register to vote in Arizona is Monday at midnight, with the first early ballots being sent out next week.

A new poll released Thursday, by Data for Progress, shows Biden up 4 points over the president, 50-46%. Other recent surveys have Biden leading by between 1 and 11 points in a state that hasn't tilted in favor of a Democratic presidential candidate since Bill Clinton was elected.

Attendees for the Republican candidate's rally in Tucson were told to sign up online. That event page, which required entering a working phone number and email address, was pulled down Friday afternoon.

The registration form for Trump's rally required attendees to agree to not sue if they contract coronavirus: "By registering for this event, you understand and expressly acknowledge that an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. In attending the event, you and any guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19, and waive, release, and discharge Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.; the host venue; or any of their affiliates, directors, officers, employees, agents, contractors, or volunteers from any and all liability under any theory, whether in negligence or otherwise, for any illness or injury."

The number of coronavirus cases in Arizona continues to grow, with 705 new diagnosed infections reported Thursday, with 24 additional deaths. 5,674 Arizonans have died from the disease, with 219,212 confirmed reports of cases. In Pima County, 78 new cases and 2 new deaths were reported Thursday, for a total of 622 county residents who have died from COVID-19 and 25,706 reported infections.

The public health executive order by Gov. Doug Ducey that bans gathering of more than 50 people to stem the spread of COVID-19 has an exemption for "constitutionally protected activities," so will not be enforced against those attending the rally, Pima County authorities said.

But Pima County Health Director Dr. Theresa Cullen "strongly encourages anyone attending any gathering of any kind practice physical distancing and wear a mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19."

Pima County is covered by an emergency public health order that requires face covering be worn when physical distancing cannot be maintained, county officials reiterated Thursday.

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Paul Ingram/TucsonSentinel.com

Then-candidate Donald Trump speaking at the Phoenix Convention Center in September 2016.