JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- Missouri Governor Mike Parson on Wednesday tested positive for COVID-19, hours after his wife Teresa did.
The First Lady was experiencing some mild symptoms Wednesday morning, including sniffling and a cough, but no fever when she tested positive for COVID-19 using a rapid test. She is now waiting for the results of a PCR test for absolute certainty. She will also be taking another rapid test Wednesday.
According to Governor Parson's office, all events scheduled for the governor this week have been postponed, including the gubernatorial debate slated for Friday.
Governor Parson said he was asymptomatic.
Parson is 65. He has repeatedly urged residents to wear masks and maintain social distancing, but he has been an outspoken opponent of mask mandates, often appearing at functions without one.
"I've always been clear on that. I'm not anti-mask," Parson said in July. "I encouraged everybody to wear a mask for months. What I am is anti-mandate. I don't think it's the governor's role to mandate a mask."
When asked to react to the diagnosis, Dr. Alex Garza, head of the St. Louis Pandemic Task Force, said, "Whether that sways the Governor's decision about masking or not is I think a really a decision for the Governor" Later adding, "The science is very clear that wearing a mask decreases the rate of transmission and that mandatory masking rules do work."
On Tuesday, Parson and his wive attended the opening of Payne's Valley Golf Course near Branson, where PGA golfers Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose played a round of golf. The Parson's were pictured wearing a mask in photos posted on the governor's Twitter account.
@FirstLadyTeresa and I had the chance to tour the new Payne’s Valley Golf Course, a partnership between Johnny Morris and Tiger Woods in honor of their late friend Payne Stewart. pic.twitter.com/ydYZ1IQE46— Governor Mike Parson (@GovParsonMO) September 22, 2020
Missouri Health Director Dr. Randall Williams said contact tracing for the Parsons began Wednesday afternoon.
"The Governor and First Lady being the public figures that they are have traveled and engaged with the public.," Williams said.
Democrat Nicole Galloway, who is challenging Parson in the upcoming gubernatorial race, released the following statement about the positive tests:
“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.”