North Carolina State Treasurer Dale Folwell is one of, if not the most, accessible members of the Council of State, which means it takes something extraordinary for Folwell not to be available to the press.
COVID-19 is an extraordinary event for the world and, in particular, for Folwell, who holds a monthly “Ask Me Anything” conference call with the press.
The April “Ask Me Anything” conference call was canceled because of COVID-19, which might seem unusual, since conference calls have replaced the usual press conferences and in-person interviews.
But not only is the state Treasury Department operating under the same COVID-19 restrictions as other departments, Folwell tested positive for coronavirus and was hospitalized.
Folwell tested positive on March 16 and was hospitalized on March 29. He was discharged on April 3, but it is no surprise that he isn’t up to handling a press conference, even a call-in press conference.
According to a press release from the Treasury Department, despite his illness and hospitalization, Folwell has been in contact with “necessary senior staff members at the Department of the State Treasurer.”
The press release states, “He has continued to lead DST, with the assistance of his deputies, and has been as engaged as necessary given the severity of his illness and his need to rest and recuperate.”
During this coronavirus crisis, the state Treasury Department has continued to provide state pension payments to over 300,000 retirees and continued to process retirements for those in the state system.
The State Health Plan managed by the department announced last week that it was waiving the cost of treatment for members diagnosed with COVID-19, including deductibles, copayments and coinsurance. The state had previously announced that it was covering the costs associated with testing for COVID-19 whether that testing took place at a doctor’s office, urgent care or an emergency medical facility.