Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, whose mask-wearing habits have been publicly inconsistent and who has declined to issue a statewide mandate for face coverings, has tested positive for the coronavirus.
The Republican governor’s wife, Teresa Parson, has also tested positive.
In a brief video statement, Mike Parson said he is awaiting a second test to confirm the results.
“Myself and the first lady are both fine,” Parson said. “I was tested; the preliminary results have come back as a positive result.”
“Right now, I feel fine, no symptoms of any kind,” he added.
The couple will follow quarantine protocols and will likely be separated for a few days, Parson said.
Parson’s behavior has often contradicted advice from his own public health officials, appearing at functions without a mask and surrounded by people.
As recently as July 11, Parson told a group of cattle ranchers that the government should not interfere with their decision to wear or forgo a face covering.
“You don’t need government to tell you to wear a dang mask,” he said, as the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader reported, “If you want to wear a dang mask, wear a mask.”
He made the comments at a steak fry function with the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association sans mask, and photos of the event showed him ignoring social distancing guidelines.
The first couple’s diagnosis comes as the state announced 1,580 new cases of COVID-19 and 83 more deaths from the disease. In all, just under 117,000 people in the state have been diagnosed with the disease and 1,947 have died.
The U.S. death toll has risen above 200,000.
Parson is up for reelection and was expected to debate Democratic opponent Nicole Galloway on Friday.
On Wednesday evening he urged Missourians to “do the best you can to protect yourselves.”
He also cited the now-familiar mantra: “Social distancing, wear a mask, personal hygiene.”