Missouri governor, wife test positive for COVID-19


Gov. Mike Parson posted this photo to his Twitter account July 11 showing him attending a crowded barbecue in Sedalia with no social distancing or masks.

By Gloria Lloyd, News Editor

Gov. Mike Parson and First Lady Teresa Parson tested positive for COVID-19 Wednesday. Parson’s office said Teresa Parson was tested this morning “out of an abundance of caution” and after displaying minor symptoms. The governor was then tested as well and received a positive result.

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. At this time, the governor feels healthy and is displaying no symptoms, and the First Lady has mild symptoms, the governor’s office said. Proper safety protocols have been implemented at the direction of Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

During this time, Parson “continues to conduct and fulfill all roles of businesses of the state of Missouri from the Governor’s Mansion without interruption,” his office said.

Parson, a Republican, is running for election against State Auditor Nicole Galloway, a Democrat. One of the events that will be postponed is a scheduled debate between the two candidates Friday that is sponsored by the Missouri Press Association.

Parson is one of the minority of governors nationwide who has not implemented a statewide mask mandate. In the spring and summer, he has regularly been seen around the state not wearing a mask.

Speaking in a press conference last month with Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Parson urged all Missourians to wear masks when not able to socially distance. But he has frequently been photographed attending crowded events without a mask.

Attending one of those events in the summer, he said, “You don’t need government to tell you to wear a dang mask. If you want to wear a dang mask, wear a mask.”

“The media will have a field day with that one,” he added.

In a statement, Galloway said, “I wish Governor Parson and First Lady Teresa Parson a safe and full recovery. 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.”