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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Veterans’ Home Recently Visited by Governor Parson Has Outbreak of COVID-19

Posted By on Tue, Sep 29, 2020 at 4:22 PM

click to enlarge Governor Mike Parson tweeted this photo of himself meeting with staff at Missouri Veterans Home, which is now dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak. - MIKE PARSON/TWITTER
  • Governor Mike Parson tweeted this photo of himself meeting with staff at Missouri Veterans Home, which is now dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak.

UPDATE 5:15 p.m.: We've updated this story to include a response from Governor Parson's spokeswoman below.

A veterans home visited two weeks ago by Missouri Governor Mike Parson is dealing with a major COVID-19 outbreak, according to a news report.

The Missouri Veterans Home in Mount Vernon has had 31 of its 150 residents test positive for the virus, ABC affiliate KODE-TV reported.

 visited the home on September 15, meeting with staff. The next day, he mentioned the visit during a news briefing.

"We've also had the chance to visit some of our Missouri veterans homes," Parson said at the September 16 briefing in Jefferson City. "Our veterans' homes staff have done a great job taking care of our veterans during these times. Teresa and I were glad to visit with them and to thank them."

News broke six days ago that Governor Parson and his wife Teresa Parson had tested positive for the virus and were going to begin isolating. Teresa Parson was experiencing mild symptoms before the tests.

Governor Parson’s Twitter account posted pictures of the visit on the day of his trip to Mount Vernon, and there are photos documenting a visit just a few days prior to another veterans’ home in Cameron, Missouri, posted by Teresa Parson’s Twitter page, too.

It's not clear where the governor and his wife contracted the virus. (We've reached out to Parson's spokesperson and will update if we hear back.) They have regularly attended in-person events during the pandemic, including one where the governor didn’t wear a mask while posing for photos with elderly veterans and another where he didn’t wear a mask while meeting with Missouri ranchers.

Missouri was recently singled out by the White House for our high rate of new cases. And even though we’ve been setting records this week for increasing numbers of coronavirus-related hospitalizations, the governor has ignored repeated calls to require all Missourians to wear masks in public places to help reduce the spread of infection and death.

We’ve reached out to the Missouri Veterans Commission for details on the outbreak and will update this article as we get more information.

The governor has said he is asymptomatic, and Teresa posted a message today saying she feels better but will take another few days to rest. Teresa had announced on Twitter that they still planned to host the Parson Family Fall Festival on Saturday, but she said this afternoon that they will postpone the event "out of an abundance of caution."

UPDATE 5:15 p.m.: We received a response from Governor Parson's spokeswoman about a possible connection between the outbreak at the vet home and Governor Parson and his wife testing positive for COVID-19:

"There is no connection between the two.

The event was on September 15. Furthermore, no one at the facility would have been considered a close contact, according to CDC guidelines (please review). A screening process was done before entering, social distance was practiced, and masks were worn." 

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