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Wife of South Carolina governor tests positive for COVID-19

December 18, 2020 GMT
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, left, fist bumps with U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, right, as McMaster's wife Peggy, center, looks on, on Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, in Spartanburg, S.C. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, left, fist bumps with U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, right, as McMaster's wife Peggy, center, looks on, on Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, in Spartanburg, S.C. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, left, fist bumps with U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, right, as McMaster's wife Peggy, center, looks on, on Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, in Spartanburg, S.C. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina first lady Peggy McMaster has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The governor’s office announced that McMaster, 73, took a “precautionary, routine test” Thursday afternoon and learned Friday morning that the results were positive. Officials said Friday that she was not experiencing any symptoms.

Gov. Henry McMaster, 73, was tested at the same time, with a negative result. His office said the governor would follow official guidelines for “close contacts” and quarantine for a week while testing regularly and continuing his official duties. His wife will isolate for 10 days.

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Peggy McMaster is often seen wearing a clear face shield rather than a cloth face covering. In its official recommendations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend face shields to contain the spread of the virus because of the “large gaps below and alongside the face, where your respiratory droplets may escape and reach others around you.”

The guidelines go on to note that “we do not know how much protection a face shield provides to people around you.”

Both McMasters tested negative for the virus before attending a Christmas event at the White House on Dec. 14, according to the governor’s office. They also had negative tests before a Dec. 10 meeting in Greenville with Vice President Mike Pence, in the state for an update on the pandemic.

The news came on a day that South Carolina set a new record for daily numbers of positive coronavirus tests. Health officials announced Friday that they had confirmed 3,648 new cases of COVID-19 in the state and 28 additional deaths.

South Carolina has seen at least 247,361 cases and 4,512 deaths from the virus since the start of the outbreak, state health officials have said.

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Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP.

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Follow AP coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.