Nebraska Lt. Gov. Mike Foley has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a spokesperson.
“The Lt. Governor has tested positive for coronavirus,” Justin Pinkerman wrote in an email. “He has mild symptoms and is self-isolating as he recovers.”
Pinkerman said that two-sentence statement was the only update the office would provide at this time, but he clarified that Gov. Pete Ricketts was not exposed. Pinkerman did not answer The World-Herald’s question regarding whether Foley was vaccinated.
Earlier Tuesday, Pinkerman had emailed an updated version of Foley’s public schedule to members of the media that showed all plans for the week had been canceled. A schedule sent last Friday showed Foley was planning to travel the state to offer remarks at “Excellence in State Service” recognition ceremonies in Kearney, North Platte, Scottsbluff and Norfolk.
Foley has been Nebraska’s lieutenant governor since 2015, after he was elected to his position as Ricketts’ running mate. He had been a candidate for governor before Ricketts defeated him in the Republican primary that year. Before that, he was the Nebraska auditor of public accounts and a state senator.
Foley is far from the first prominent state official to test positive for the coronavirus. Toward the end of a special legislative session focused on redistricting, State Sen. Mike Flood of Norfolk tested positive for COVID-19.
Flood confirmed his positive case two days after Secretary of State Bob Evnen canceled an event announcing his reelection bid because he had tested positive for COVID-19. Both men were fully vaccinated against COVID.
At the time, neither case was described as severe. Flood said he quarantined for 10 days and now feels fully recovered. A spokesperson for Evnen said he returned to work Wednesday and is fully recovered.
Earlier in the pandemic, Sen. Mike Moser of Columbus was hospitalized with COVID-19 for five weeks in May and June of 2020. State Sen. Mike Groene of North Platte said in November that he had tested positive. That same month, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa announced he had tested positive for COVID. Those cases occurred before COVID-19 vaccines were available.
The Sarpy County Election Commissioner’s Office closed to the public just days after Election Day 2020 after several staff members, including then-Commissioner Michelle Andahl, tested positive for COVID-19.