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Hotel Disputes CPAC’s Matt Schlapp on Coronavirus Screenings

Matt Schlapp speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference, February 28, 2019. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Marriott has disputed Conservative Political Action Conference head Matt Schlapp’s claim that the state of Maryland performed thousands of Wuhan coronavirus screenings at the hotel that hosted CPAC.

“It is my understanding that no screens of either people or facilities has been performed at the property,” Marriott spokeswoman Allison Sitch told CNBC.

Schlapp told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham that he was told by the Maryland Department of Health that 2,000 tests were performed in and around the Gaylord National hotel.

“They did 2,000 screens all around the hotel,” Schlapp on Tuesday, referring to Maryland Department of Health officials. “They found nothing…Several days ago they came to us and said there’s nothing to be alarmed about.”

In comments to National Review, Schlapp stood by his remarks and emphasized that they reflected information he was given by health officials.

“We were told that the state of Maryland had done an assessment…and there were more than 2,000 screenings that were performed,” Schlapp said. “I stand by the fact that we were told that, I stand by the fact that we said that. And I have since asked other health care experts why they used the term ‘screening’ and what does that mean, and the answer I have gotten is that it could mean a wide variety of things.”

“It essentially means they did an evaluation that encompassed, or at least it felt like an evaluation had been done, that encompassed a talking to a wide range of people,” Schlapp added.

A spokesman for the Maryland Department of Health did not directly address the veracity of Schlapp’s comments but did confirm that health officials have coordinated with CPAC organizers.

“The Maryland Department of Health has closely coordinated with CPAC organizers to provide guidance to attendees,” the spokesman told CNBC.

During his earlier interview with Ingraham, Schlapp spoke from his home via Skype, having placing himself in self-quarantine following revelations that a CPAC attendee had contracted the coronavirus. The patient had been in contact with Representatives Matt Gaetz (R., Fla.), Doug Collins (R., Ga.), Paul Gosar (R., Ariz.) and Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas), all of whom subsequently placed themselves in self-quarantine. Gaetz has since tested negative for the illness.

“According to the general manager there’s been no sort of mass screening of employees … he flat out denied it,” a worker at the hotel, the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, told CNBC.

Sitch said the hotel was in contact with local health authorities “and are following their guidance about this situation.”

The patient has not been identified in the media, and while CPAC has informed VIP attendees of interactions with the patient, attendees have complained that about a lack of transparency, Politico reported Monday. CPAC has denied the complaint and maintains that all attendees who are believed to have interacted with the infected man were notified.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of the article mischaracterized Schlapp’s remarks. He said that health officials conducted tests in and around the hotel, not that the tests were conducted by hotel employees.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.