Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has tested negative for COVID-19, his office announced Thursday morning.
Holcomb was tested “out of an abundance of caution” after Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box tested positive earlier this week. Holcomb spent time with Box on Tuesday, but both wore masks and were socially distanced.
Box announced Wednesday that she and her daughter and 23-month-old grandson tested positive after her grandson was exposed at daycare.
Box said she was not showing any symptoms, and her daughter and grandson had mild symptoms.
Following that announcement, Holcomb along with Chief Medical Officer Dr. Lindsay Weaver and other staff at the Indiana State Health Department and the Governor’s Office took rapid COVID-19 tests and followed those up with the more reliable PCR test.
Both of Holcomb’s tests were negative. Weaver and staff members all tested negative, as well.
“[Indiana first lady] Janet [Holcomb] and I are wishing Dr. Box and her family a speedy recovery,” Holcomb said in a written statement. “The coronavirus does not discriminate, and this further highlights the importance of wearing masks and social distancing.”
The governor’s office said Box and Weaver have advised Holcomb that he can “resume his normal schedule with vigilance about masking and social distancing.”
Dr. Woody Myers, the Democratic candidate for governor, said he has requested that all of the gubernatorial candidates be tested on Monday for COVID-19 as a precaution before the debate on Tuesday night. The candidates will be in a studio together for the debate, hosted by the Indiana Debate Commission, but there will not be an in-person audience.
Holcomb’s campaign told IBJ that the rules and safety protocols for the debate are being managed by the Indiana Debate Commission. As of Thursday, the protocols did not include testing the candidates prior to the event, but the commission is expected to discuss any potential new protocols later today.
“As Hoosiers who have been watching Governor Holcomb know, he’s followed the data and CDC guidelines throughout this pandemic,” Holcomb’s campaign spokeswoman Holly Lawson said in a written statement. “The governor will continue to get tested when deemed necessary per CDC guidelines, and advises all Hoosiers to do the same.”
Libertarian candidate Donald Rainwater said he doesn’t meet any of the suggested criteria under which the CDC would recommend testing, so he does not believe it is necessary to be tested.
“The Indiana Debate Commission does not require a COVID-19 test as a prerequisite for participating in the debate, but if they decide to change the rules, I will comply,” Rainwater said in a statement. “The candidates don’t make the rules, the IDC does.”
Myers said he has also suggested that the candidates be separated as far apart as possible for the debate.
“None of us like the situation we’re in,” Myers said. “But we’re in the situation and we have to take appropriate action…. We cannot let our guard down.”