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On his first full day of isolating in the Governor's Mansion due to testing positive for coronavirus, Gov. Mike Parson activated the Missouri National Guard "as a precautionary measure" due to instances of civil unrest across the country.
Though Parson's announcement did not name Breonna Taylor or further describe any specific news, the Associated Press reported two police officers were shot and wounded Wednesday night in Kentucky following a grand jury's decision there to not bring charges against Louisville police for Taylor's death.
Protesters demonstrated after the decision — also in major cities across the U.S. — angry over the deaths of Black people at the hands of police. Taylor died in an exchange of gunfire between police and her boyfriend as officers entered her home during a narcotics investigation.
The warrant used to search her home was connected to a suspect who did not live there, and no drugs were found inside. One officer was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment for shooting into a home next to Taylor's with people inside. Federal investigators are still examining the March 13 drug raid.
There were scuffles between police and protesters Wednesday in Louisville, some arrests and some small fires lit.
Police there had not said whether a suspect in the officers' shooting was participating in demonstrations.
Parson's executive order activating the Missouri National Guard cites "events that are occurring or could occur in the cities of Kansas City and St. Louis, and other affected communities" in the state as having "created or may create conditions of distress and hazards to the safety, welfare and property of the resident and visitors of these communities beyond the capacities of local jurisdictions and other established agencies."
The order says citizens have the right to peacefully assemble and protest, and the state is committed to protecting the lawful exercise of those rights, but also that the rule of law must be maintained.
Parson said in a news release from his office: "At this time, we are taking a proactive approach in the event that assistance is needed to support local law enforcement in protecting Missouri and its people."
The news release added the Missouri Highway Patrol is also ready to assist local law enforcement, if necessary.
The governor of Massachusetts also activated National Guard members in his state Thursday, according to the Associated Press.
Parson previously activated the Missouri National Guard in June following protests against racism and police brutality but also violence in the state and elsewhere in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in the custody of Minneapolis police officers.
The National Guard is also currently mobilized to assist in the state's efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Parson is isolating at the Governor's Mansion after he and first lady Teresa Parson tested positive for coronavirus Wednesday. The governor's office reported Thursday the governor still feels healthy, and the first lady continues to have mild symptoms.
Teresa was tested Wednesday morning after experiencing symptoms of cough and a runny nose. Gov. Parson was tested after his wife's test came back positive.
The governor's office said in a news release Thursday that Gov. Parson would continue to fulfill his duties for the next 10 days in isolation at the Governor's Mansion in Jefferson City, participating virtually in scheduled events, calls and interviews.
Teresa is isolating at home in Bolivar, state health director Dr. Randall Williams said Wednesday.
As a precaution, the governor's staff, Mansion staff and security personnel had been tested and were waiting results, Parson's office said Thursday.
All staff that had been in close contact with the couple were working remotely.
Kelli Jones, the governor's communications director who is working remotely, did not immediately have a total number of people who had been tested and were awaiting results.
The Department of Health and Senior Services and the Cole County Health Department are working on contact tracing efforts.
Parson's office said staff that had not been in close contact with the governor or first lady continued to work in the office, and the office would continue to operate without interruption.
Gov. Parson — speaking Thursday afternoon on the Mark Reardon Show on radio station KMOX — said, as a policy, "We really try to watch our social distancing" in the governor's office.
When asked if occasions in the 24 hours before he and Teresa's diagnoses when they may not have been wearing masks gave him any pause, Gov. Parson said, "Most of the time, we were wearing masks" — including when doing ceremonial bill signings and going to events.
While he said he normally does not wear a mask when speaking, he said, "As a rule, both the first lady and myself have been wearing masks."
The governor once again advised Missourians to wear masks and practice social distancing and good hygiene.
In terms of the pandemic's ongoing effects for the rest of the state, Gov. Parson said spread from urban to rural areas was expected, and as spread of the disease continues, his administration is monitoring hospital data to watch for if health care systems are becoming overwhelmed — especially in rural areas with less health resources than cities.