Kemp heads to quarantine after possible exposure to COVID-19 carrier

    Gov. Brian Kemp and his wife Marty wore masks following a press conference last month to promote census participation. The governor's office said Friday both will quarantine after exposure to COVID-19. Ross Williams/Georgia Recorder

    Gov. Brian Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp are under quarantine after the governor came in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 this week, his office said Friday.

    Kemp’s office said in a statement Friday afternoon that the couple will continue following Georgia Department of Public Health guidelines by isolating themselves even after their test results came up negative.

    Marty Kemp did not have direct exposure to the person who tested positive.

    “The governor is not currently experiencing any symptoms and will be quarantining per Department of Health guidance,” said a statement on Kemp’s Twitter account. “The governor spoke with (Commissioner) Dr. (Kathleen) Toomey this afternoon and will continue to follow her expert guidance.”

    A Kemp spokesman did not name the person carrying the virus who prompted the Kemps to quarantine, but said more details will come soon.

    Congressman Drew Ferguson, a West Point Republican who was at a Manchester political rally with the governor, announced on Twitter Friday that he tested positive for the coronavirus as well.

    Ferguson said he was tested this morning after experiencing cold-like symptoms on Thursday night that developed into a fever by Friday morning. 

    “While the vast majority of my recent schedule has been virtual, we are beginning the process of reaching out to anyone I have seen in recent days,” Ferguson posted on Twitter. “I am eager to get back to work and will do so as soon as I have fully recovered.”

    The quarantine means that the Kemps and Ferguson will not be making any campaign stops in the final few days before Election Day on Tuesday.

    While the governor’s race is not on the ballot, Kemp’s actively supported Republican candidates from the presidency to Congress and state Legislature. He’s also campaigned against Democrats, as he did at the Manchester rally near Warm Springs where Joe Biden made a campaign stop Tuesday.

    Ferguson faces Democrat Val Almonord in a contest to represent a U.S. House district that covers west central Georgia.

    Earlier on Friday, the governor extended the public health state of emergency through Dec. 9. 

    Kemp has faced criticism from Democrats and some medical experts for his handling of the pandemic, who charged he reopened the state too quickly and that a recent spike in cases shows Georgia is headed in the wrong direction.

    Kemp consistently recommends Georgians wear masks and practice social distancing, but stops short of mandating face coverings. Kemp himself frequently wears masks in public when he’s not speaking.

    Stanley Dunlap
    Stanley Dunlap has covered government and politics for news outlets in Georgia and Tennessee for the past decade. At The (Macon) Telegraph he told readers about Macon-Bibb County’s challenges implementing its recent consolidation, with a focus on ways the state Legislature determines the fate of local communities. He used open records requests to break a story of a $400 million pension sweetheart deal a county manager steered to a friendly consultant. The Georgia Associated Press Managing Editors named Stanley a finalist for best deadline reporting for his story on the death of Gregg Allman and best beat reporting for explanatory articles on the 2018 Macon-Bibb County budget deliberations. The Tennessee Press Association honored him for his reporting on the disappearance of Holly Bobo, which became a sensational murder case that generated national headlines.