Missouri Governor who opposes mask mandates tests positive for COVID-19

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican who has opposed mask mandates even while most other states implement them, announced Wednesday he was positive for coronavirus according to a preliminary test, the same day the state announced its highest number of daily COVID-19 deaths.

In a video on Twitter, Gov. Parson said he got a rapid test on Wednesday after First Lady Teresa Parson began showing mild symptoms and tested positive herself. Gov. Parson said he feels fine, but will likely be quarantining in the governor’s mansion and is waiting on final test results.

“We are both fine,” he said in the video. “I wanna encourage everybody how I have every day. Take care of yourselves, do the best you can to protect yourselves: social distancing, wear a mask, personal hygiene.”

Parson has encouraged mask-wearing, but has resisted calls for a state mask mandate, and sometimes appears at events with the public without a mask. The White House in August recommended Missouri implement a mask mandate due to its high rate of cases per capita at the time.

“I wear a mask from time-to-time when I feel that need is there. I am not anti-mask, what I am is anti-mandates,” Parson told Missourinet in late July. “I don’t think it’s the state’s place to mandate for everybody in the state of Missouri to wear a mask.”

As of Wednesday, Missouri reported a total of 1,947 deaths and 116,946 total cases, including 83 new deaths, the highest single-day total in the state, the day after Tuesday’s 57 deaths set the bar, according to the Associated Press.

Parson was criticized for implementing a statewide shutdown order nearly a month after a woman in St. Louis reported the first case. Missouri began re-opening, including indoor dining, in May.

The news has prompted the governor to shut down upcoming events, including a Friday debate with his Democratic challenger in November’s election, state auditor Nicole Galloway.

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