First gentleman has COVID-19, Whitmer tests negative but is isolating

By: and - January 5, 2022 6:00 am

First gentleman Marc Mallory and first daughter Sydney Shrewsberry at Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s first State of the State in 2019 | Casey Hull

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is isolating herself after first gentleman Marc Mallory tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday and is experiencing symptoms. Whitmer tested negative in a rapid test, but is awaiting results of a subsequent PCR test.

“Like so many families around the country, the governor and her husband took extra precautions to limit contact with others to stay safe over the holidays as they celebrated Christmas with their immediate family members in Michigan,” said Whitmer spokesman Bobby Leddy in a statement. “Thankfully, the entire family is fully vaccinated and boosted, so the governor has not tested positive and is not experiencing symptoms. Until the PCR test comes back, the governor is isolating in a separate area of the house and has taken steps to complete contact tracing to keep others safe.”

Leddy said Whitmer will continue to work with medical experts and health professionals “to increase access to testing, secure additional lifesaving treatments like monoclonal antibodies and new Pfizer pill.” 

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at the 2021 Mackinac Policy Conference, Sept. 21, 2021 | Ken Coleman

In an interview with the Advance on Dec. 22 before the holidays, Whitmer was asked if she was increasing her personal testing regimen as several leaders had recently disclosed breakthrough COVID infections, including GOP Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). 

“I test twice a week. I actually did my test this morning,” she told the Advance on Dec. 22, noting the test was negative. 

Whitmer added that “at this stage in the virus and the variants that it’s likely that every one of us is going to get exposed to COVID at some point. I’m going to do everything I can to avoid that from happening, but this omicron variant is just that contagious.”

“… I do observe the protocols, but I recognize that, like Gov. Hogan or [Minnesota] Gov. [Tim] Walz, who yesterday announced that he had been exposed, I think it’s important to be realistic that the goal is really to stay safe and to stay out of the hospital,” Whitmer added.

COVID-19 numbers are climbing nationally in Michigan, due to the omicron variant spreading and large holiday gatherings. As of Monday, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reported there are 289 omicron cases total in Allegan, Calhoun, Clinton, Genesee, Kalamazoo, Kent, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Marquette, Monroe, Oakland, Ottawa, Saginaw, St. Clair, Washtenaw and Wayne counties. There also are 11 omicron cases reported by the Michigan Department of Corrections.

DHHS reported Monday a total of 1,568,573 COVID-19 cases and 27,286 COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic — an additional 61,235 cases and 298 deaths since Thursday. The state reported an average of 12,247 cases each day since Thursday.

DHHS also reported Monday that 3,999 adults and children were hospitalized with COVID-19, an 8.5% increase over last week. 

Leddy encouraged Michiganders to get vaccinated and wear a secure mask.

“We wish the first gentleman a speedy recovery and hope he feels better soon,” Leddy said.  

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Ken Coleman
Ken Coleman

Ken Coleman covers Southeast Michigan, economic justice and civil rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.

Susan J. Demas

Susan J. Demas is a 22-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQ+ people, the state budget, the economy and more. She previously served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 90 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 5,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 80 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two kids along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.