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2 more Texas Democrats test positive for COVID-19 in Washington, D.C. – 5 total cases

Texas Democratic lawmakers on plane to Washington D.C. (Twitter)

Two more Texas Democrats tested positive for the coronavirus Sunday, bringing the total number of cases among the nearly 60 lawmakers in Washington up to five.

Three members previously tested positive for COVID-19, with the first case confirmed Friday evening and two more reported Saturday morning, including Rep. Celia Israel of Austin, who said she is experiencing mild symptoms.

State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer of San Antonio said in a statement that he was one of the two members to test positive for the virus on Sunday, after testing negative on both Friday and Saturday.

The Texas House Democratic Caucus is not naming the individuals who have tested positive, but officials with the party said all of the lawmakers in Washington have been vaccinated, including those who are now infected.

Almost all of the House Democrats who left Texas for Washington on Monday to break quorum in the House and block passage of a GOP election bill are staying in the same hotel and have been meeting regularly as a caucus and traveling frequently to the Capitol to meet with federal leaders.

During their first week on location, few members wore face coverings as they moved through the lobby and traveled through the city — in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines that say fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks or practice social distancing unless required by law or private regulation.

On Saturday morning, almost all of the lawmakers at the hotel could be seen wearing face masks after party leadership sent a memo to lawmakers announcing the positive cases within their ranks.

The memo, obtained by the American-Statesman, said that plans were underway to create a regular system of testing and strategies for decreasing the chances of coronavirus spread.

All of the positive cases have been identified through rapid coronavirus tests, which deliver results within minutes but are not as accurate as PCR coronavirus tests. All of the members who have received positive rapid test results will receive the full PCR test and isolate for 10 days before taking a follow-up test.

The delta variant, a highly contagious mutation of the coronavirus, has become the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the United States. Unvaccinated people continue to face the highest risk of contracting the virus and having a more serious illness. Breakthrough cases among vaccinated people are rare but possible.

Public health data released Sunday shows that the number of new coronavirus infections is now rising in all 50 states and hospitalizations continue to rise across the country.

Health experts say the vast majority of these new cases and hospitalizations involve people who are not vaccinated.

Chris Van Deusen, spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services, said Texas has seen a “significant increase” in new infections, most of which are caused by the delta variant.

“While the vaccines offer very good protection for all the variants in Texas once someone is fully vaccinated, no vaccine or other medical intervention is 100% effective, so the more virus is circulating, the more likely it is we’ll see cases among a small percentage of vaccinated people,” he said. “The good news is those cases will tend to be milder and much less likely to result in hospitalization or death.”


© 2021

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.