The governor has cleared his schedule for the week and is in isolation for 10 days — as is state protocol — at the Governor’s Mansion in Jefferson City, Department of Health and Senior Services Director Randall Williams said during an afternoon press conference. Parson is continuing to fulfill all of his duties as governor from the mansion, Williams said.
The first lady is in isolation at their home in Bolivar. She said she “got up today with some cold-like symptoms” and decided to get tested.
The first lady is “mildly symptomatic,” but the Republican chief executive remains asymptomatic, Williams said.
“I want everybody to know that myself and the first lady are both fine,” Parson said in a video posted to social media. “We’re going to start the process of what we need to do moving forward here.”
A debate between Parson and Democratic challenger Nicole Galloway, scheduled for Friday, has been postponed.
Teresa and I wanted to share a quick update with you. pic.twitter.com/FrQzMYmA7F
— Governor Mike Parson (@GovParsonMO) September 23, 2020
While the health department typically does not reveal the names of individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, Williams said it was “important” for the couple “to be transparent about their situation.”
Teresa Parson reached out to the health department Wednesday morning because she was experiencing some symptoms, Williams said.
More than 116,000 Missourians have tested positive for coronavirus in all this year, including about 1,400 in Cole County where Jefferson City and the Governor’s Mansion is located. About 500 people in all have tested positive in Polk County where the governor and first lady are from.
The health department is working with both the governor’s and first lady’s staff to determine who has been in close contact with the couple and should quarantine. Williams defined “close contact” as someone who has spent at least 15 minutes within 6 feet of sustained contact with an infected person.
“Our preliminary information shows this will be a relatively small number of people who meet this criterion of sustained contact,” Williams said.
Following the news, elected officials in Missouri offered prayers and words of encouragement.
“I wish Governor Parson and First Lady Teresa Parson a safe and full recovery,” said Galloway. “This is a stark reminder that this virus can reach anyone, anywhere and that this pandemic is far from over. We must all continue to do our part in preventing the spread of the virus by practicing social distancing, washing hands, and wearing a mask.”
“House Democrats are thankful the governor and first lady are experiencing few symptoms and hope they have quick and complete recoveries,” House Minority Leader Crystal Quade said. “By now nearly all of us have had at least one family member, friend, neighbor or coworker who has contracted COVID-19, and this is news no one ever wants to hear.”
Claudia and I are praying for @GovParsonMO and @FirstLadyTeresa, as well as all Missourians battling COVID, and look forward to their rapid recovery. My office will continue working with the Governor’s office on a daily basis just as we have the past 2+ years.
— Mike Kehoe (@LtGovMikeKehoe) September 23, 2020
Wishing Governor Parson and First Lady Parson a speedy and full recovery. We have to defeat the virus.
— Jill Schupp (@JillSchupp) September 23, 2020
— J O H N ⚡️ R I Z Z O (@JohnJRizzo) September 23, 2020
— Shamed Dogan (@Dogan4Rep) September 23, 2020
— Dirk Deaton (@DirkEDeaton) September 23, 2020
— Tony Luetkemeyer (@TonyForMissouri) September 23, 2020
This is a breaking news story and will be updated as more information becomes available.
Kaitlyn Schallhorn was the editor in chief of The Missouri Times from 2020-2022. She joined the newspaper in early 2019 after working as a reporter for Fox News in New York City.
Throughout her career, Kaitlyn has covered political campaigns across the U.S., including the 2016 presidential election, and humanitarian aid efforts in Africa and the Middle East.
She is a native of Missouri who studied journalism at Winthrop University in South Carolina. She is also an alumna of the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C.
Contact Kaitlyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.