INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb has tested negative for COVID-19, his office said Thursday, a day after the state health commissioner announced she was infected.
Holcomb and some of his staff members underwent two types of coronavirus test and all came out negative, according to the governor’s office.
Holcomb has advocated the use of masks to slow the spread of the coronavirus, but has resisted calls to reimpose tougher business and crowd-size restrictions despite a recent sharp rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations and new infections.
Holcomb, 52, wore a mask during an online briefing with reporters from his Statehouse office for the first time on Wednesday. He said he would be undergoing a coronavirus test later that day and that he planned to quarantine at the governor’s residence until he had the results.
Since Holcomb’s negative test results, health officials have told the governor he can return to his normal schedule “with vigilance about masking and social distancing,” the governor’s office said.
The state’s health commissioner, Dr. Kristina Box, announced Wednesday that she, an adult daughter and her 23-month-old grandson tested positive for the coronavirus on Tuesday.
Box said she didn’t yet have any symptoms, while her daughter and grandson have mild symptoms, and believed the infections stemmed from her grandson’s home day care site.
Holcomb said in a statement that he and his wife, Janet, hoped Box and her family make a quick recovery.
“The coronavirus does not discriminate, and this further highlights the importance of wearing masks and social distancing,” he said.
Democratic governor candidate Woody Myers, a physician and former state health commissioner, said Thursday that he has asked that the candidates taking part in Tuesday’s scheduled gubernatorial debate to undergo COVID-19 tests the day before, and to make those results public.
Holcomb, Myers and Libertarian candidate Donald Rainwater are all expected to take part in the debate at an Indianapolis television studio.
Myers said he’s also asking for candidates’ podiums on the debate stage to be spaced as far apart from one another as possible.
“These protocols will help to prevent anyone from being exposed,” Myers said.
The nonprofit Indiana Debate Commission, which is sponsoring the debate, said it was reviewing whether it would change any safety protocols.
Holcomb campaign spokeswoman Holly Lawson said the commission has issued rules following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, including physical distancing, limited access and no studio audience, and that Holcomb would be tested when necessary under those guidelines.
Rainwater said in a statement that he would follow any rules set by the debate commission but that he didn’t believe he needed a coronavirus test as he hasn’t had any COVID-19 symptoms or close contact with an infected person.