Gov. Mike Parson and First Lady Teresa Parson remain isolated after testing positive for COVID-19 Wednesday, Sept. 23.
“All official and campaign events have been canceled until further notice. As a precautionary measure, the governor’s staff has been tested and is awaiting results,” states a governor’s office staff release. “At this time, the governor feels healthy and is displaying no symptoms, and the first lady has mild symptoms.”
The news of the Republican governor’s positive test result came after he postponed an event in St. Louis Wednesday, following the positive result of his wife’s test.
Parson, who has been opposed to mask mandates at the state level, was set to travel to St. Louis for a ceremonial bill signing event Wednesday and expected to take part in a Missouri Press Association debate against other gubernatorial candidates in Columbia on Friday, Sept. 25. The Missouri Press Association has postponed the debate.
“Proper safety protocols have been implemented at the direction of Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Department of Health and Senior Services. During this time, Gov. Parson continues to conduct and fulfill all roles of businesses of the state of Missouri from the Governor’s Mansion without interruption,” states the governor’s office release.
Williams said contact tracing efforts are underway to seek out people who have had close contact with the governor or his wife, but despite Parson’s many recent public appearances, it is believed that involves “a relatively small number of people.”
“Surprisingly, it’s not as big a number as you might think because while they might be in a room with 1,000 people, the number of people who were literally with them for 15 minutes, right up next to them, is actually a smaller number,” Williams said at a news conference.
The governor is reportedly isolating in the Governor’s Mansion in Jefferson City while his wife is isolating at their family home in Bolivar.
"Although both the governor and first lady tested positive and could isolate together, the first lady's isolation will end earlier than the governor's due to her symptom onset occurring prior to his positive test while asymptomatic," states a release from the governor's office dated Sept. 25. "The first lady will remain isolated through Sept. 28, and the governor through Oct. 3."
Governor's office staff, mansion staff and security have also been tested.
"All proper (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Department of Health and Senior Services) protocols are being implemented as test results are received. Staff that have been identified as a close contact of the governor or first lady are working remotely," states the governor's office release. "Staff that have not been identified as a close contact of the governor or first lady continue to work in the office."
The St. Louis-Dispatch reports the Capitol has been the site of at least nine infections of elected officials and legislative staff. Two members of the House have tested positive.