3 Texas Lawmakers Who Traveled To D.C. Test Positive For COVID-19

2021-07-17 16:37:22

Three Democratic members of the Texas House of Representative who traveled to Washington, D.C., this week have tested positive for COVID-19, the Texas House Democratic Caucus said Saturday.

The trio, who have not been identified, were fully vaccinated, the caucus said. They were among the more than 50 Democratic lawmakers who fled Texas for the nation’s capital on July 12 to break quorum in an effort to block a Republican-backed voting bill. 

Some were criticized on social media for appearing maskless on a private plane en route to D.C. Under federal guidelines, masks remain a requirement on commercial flights, but not on private aircrafts. 

The Texas House Democratic Caucus said one of its members tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday and that the person was asymptomatic. Rapid tests were then administered to all members, most of whom have reportedly been staying in the same D.C. hotel.

Two lawmakers tested positive on Saturday, the caucus said. One of them has mild symptoms, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

Caucus chairman Rep. Chris Turner said in a statement that the group of lawmakers was following “all [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidance and protocols.”

“This is a sober reminder that COVID is still with us, and though vaccinations offer tremendous protection, we still must take necessary precautions,” Turner said. “We are in touch with public health experts in Texas to provide additional guidance. Our caucus will follow all recommendations from public health experts as we continue our work.”

While the World Health Organization has urged everyone ― including those who have been fully vaccinated ― to continue to wear masks and practice social distancing because of the continued spread of the delta variant, the CDC has said that fully vaccinated people can “resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing.”

The CDC has also advised that “most fully vaccinated people with no COVID-like symptoms do not need to quarantine, be restricted from work, or be tested following an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, as their risk of infection is low.” 

Current research suggests that while breakthrough COVID-19 infections are still possible in vaccinated people, the risk of severe symptoms is greatly reduced post-vaccination. 

Vice President Kamala Harris (standing) met with some Democratic members of the Texas state legislature on Tuesday.

As the Associated Press noted, some Texas House Democrats met with Vice President Kamala Harris earlier this week, but it was not immediately known whether the three people who tested positive for COVID-19 were among them. 

Earlier this month, California said it was reinstating a mask mandate for all lawmakers and staff at the state capitol ― regardless of their vaccination status ― after an outbreak of COVID-19 cases there.

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