Randall Williams

Dr. Randall Williams. Director, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is disputing an article published by NPR regarding the annual fall festival being hosted by Gov. Mike Parson and his wife after contracting coronavirus.

In the article, NPR claims Parson has “come under fire from critics and his own public health official for regularly eschewing medical advice – choosing not to wear a face covering at public events and campaign rallies.”

Gov. Parson and his wife announced last week they had tested positive for COVID-19. The Parson Family Fall Festival, set for Oct. 3 at the Governor’s Mansion, is continuing according to First Lady Teresa Parson.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services tweeted yesterday that the NPR article is filled with misinformation and that the reporter did not attempts to contact their offices to get accurate information.

Officials with Health and Senior Services said the NPR reporter also misunderstands CDC guidance and the difference between quarantine and isolation. 

After the tweet, NPR did issue a correction stating that the original statement the governor’s festival would occur within a 14-day quarantine window, to state those who test positive for COVID-19 should isolate for 10 days.

The Department of Health and Senior Services released a statement on Friday stating the Governor and First Lady remain isolated.  According to DHSS, although the Governor and First Lady could isolate together, the First Lady’s isolation will end earlier than the Governor’s due to her symptom onset occurring prior to his positive test while asymptomatic. The First Lady will remain isolated through Sept. 28 and the Governor through Oct. 3.

DHSS officials also say the Governor’s staff, mansion staff and security have all been tested.  Staff that have been identified as a close contact of the Governor or First Lady are working remotely.