Governor Henry McMaster tests positive for COVID-19

in Coronavirus/Health/News by

Governor experiencing mild symptoms, isolating with the First Lady at home

From staff reports

After undergoing routine testing due to coming into close contact with the COVID-19 virus, Governor Henry McMaster was notified late Monday evening that he has tested positive for the virus.

First Lady Peggy McMaster, who previously tested positive, remains asymptomatic, while the governor is experiencing mild symptoms with a cough and slight fatigue. Both remain in good spirits and Governor McMaster continues to work from the Governor’s Residence.

Following Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) guidelines, the governor will isolate for the next 10 days and monitor for additional symptoms.

“Peggy and I urge everyone to be extra careful during the Christmas holiday season,” Gov. Henry McMaster said in a release. “This virus spreads very easily.”

Based on advice from his personal physician, Governor McMaster will receive Monoclonal Antibody treatment today. The outpatient treatment is a preventive measure for those with mild to moderate symptoms and is readily available to the general public upon a physician’s order.

According to SCDHEC physicians, there is no way to pinpoint precisely when or how Governor McMaster or the First Lady contracted the virus.

According to CDC and SCDHEC guidelines, contact tracing is conducted for the 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms or 48 hours prior to an eventual positive test being conducted. The governor quarantined himself when he knew he was in close contact with the virus and sent Governor’s Residence staff home to quarantine and get tested to ensure their health and safety.

Because the governor followed the guidelines and recommendations as a “close contact,” SCDHEC has determined there are no “close contacts” to the governor.

COVID 19 CONTINUES TO SURGE IN COUNTY, STATE

There were 77 new confirmed cases of coronavirus in Beaufort County on Tuesday.

The county’s seven-day average of new cases is 72 as of Tuesday, four days after the county saw a record 126 cases.

Statewide, Tuesday, there were 2,055 new cases and 15 deaths.

DHEC SETTLES ON SIMMER

The S.C. Board of Health and Environmental Control announced Tuesday the selection of Dr. Edward Simmer for appointment as director of the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).

“(The year) 2020 has emphasized the importance of the work being done by DHEC employees each day. The selection of Dr. Edward Simmer to serve as the director of DHEC reaffirms the Board’s commitment to promoting and protecting the health and safety of all South Carolinians, and the communities where they live, work and play,” Board Chairman Mark Elam said. “Dr. Simmer’s experience in management through his over 30-year naval career, long time residency in Beaufort and proven leadership skills will serve the agency, its many talented and dedicated staff and the people of South Carolina well.”

Dr. Simmer currently serves as Chief Medical Officer, TRICARE Health Plan, and will be retiring from the Navy on Dec. 31. Previously, he served as Commanding Officer and CEO at the Naval Hospital in Oak Harbor, Wash. Dr. Simmer holds more than 25 years of extensive clinical leadership and team-building experience including transforming a large health care system.

The DHEC director is selected by the board to serve a four-year term. The selection is subject for approval by the Governor, and advice and consent by the Senate.

“Dr. Simmer’s service and professional qualifications are remarkable,” Gov. Henry McMaster said in a release. “His career and achievements demonstrate the proven leadership and management skills required to direct the Department of Health and Environmental Control. The board has made an excellent choice and it’s my hope the Senate will confirm Dr. Simmer as quickly as possible.”