North Carolina treasurer recovering from COVID-19
North Carolina State Treasurer Dale Folwell left the hospital Friday after being treated for the novel coronavirus.
Folwell, who oversees the state's debt and pension plans, spent five days at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center after testing positive for COVID-19 on March 24. The virus primarily impacted his respiratory system, producing a severe cough, a release from his office said.
"After a recent, long-planned trip with my son, I returned early to Raleigh on Monday, March 16, for three days to address the growing volatility and downturn in the financial market, and its impact on the state pension plan’s $100 billion in investments," Folwell said when he announced his positive diagnosis on March 25.
Folwell, 61, said he has a perennial cough and thought he was having a seasonal reaction to spring pollen when he returned to the office. After testing positive, he self-isolated at home, where his symptoms worsened and required hospitalization.
The treasurer wasn't placed on a ventilator or otherwise incapacitated, his office said. He remained in contact with his family and necessary senior staff members at the Department of State Treasurer.
Folwell and at least two members of his department's staff have also tested positive for the virus, according to the News & Observer.
The treasurer's department has nearly 400 employees, all of whom have been working from home since Gov. Roy Cooper ordered North Carolinians to remain at home starting March 30. The order ends April 29 but may be extended.
As of midday Monday, the state Department of Health and Human Services reported 2,870 positive cases of COVID-19, as well as 33 deaths from the disease and 270 people who are currently hospitalized. The virus has been detected in 89 of North Carolina's 100 counties.
Folwell's office said that more than 300,000 state retirees received their pension payments the week of March 23.
"The Investment Management Division continues to minimize investment losses despite market volatility," Friday's release said. "The State and Local Government Finance Division, the State Bank and Unclaimed Properties Division are all operating and providing services to the state’s citizens."
In addition to the pension system, the Department of Treasurer also administers public workers' retirement savings plans and oversees the State Health Plan, which provides coverage to more than 727,000 teachers, state employees, retirees, current and former lawmakers, state university and community college personnel, and their dependents.
Folwell, a Republican who has been state treasurer since January 2017, is up for re-election this year.