WASHINGTON – Two more Texas House Democrats have tested positive for COVID-19 in Washington D.C. after breaking quorum and leaving the state to block a GOP voting bill last week, according to a report from the Austin American-Statesman.
This brings the total number of Texas Democrats that are COVID-19 positive to five, as of Sunday.
The Democrats are among the nearly 60 lawmakers that broke quorum in the House and are working to block the passage of the bill that would allow for certain voting restrictions in Texas.
Three members previously tested positive, with the first case announced Friday evening and two others on Saturday, according to the American-Statesman.
Rep. Celia Israel, of Austin and Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer of San Antonio are among the positive cases, the newspaper reports.
Rep. Fischer tested positive Sunday after testing negative Friday and Saturday. He issued this statement late Sunday:
“When my Texas House Democratic colleagues and I broke quorum to stop anti-voter legislation, we knew that tactic would come with real personal sacrifice. In Texas, we have a part-time legislature. We are not professional politicians. We are employees and business owners, moms and dads, and regular folks with a passion for service. Many of my colleagues and I are away from our families, our livelihoods, our churches, and our support networks. Those sacrifices are made more real as we grapple with the pandemic that has touched everyone in some way. Today, I received a positive COVID-19 rapid antigen test result. I am fully vaccinated, and had tested negative on Friday and Saturday. I am quarantining until I test negative, and I am grateful to be only experiencing extremely mild symptoms. I am grateful for the encouragement and prayers of my colleagues and all of those across Texas and the country who support our cause. Let’s keep pushing to ensure everyone is vaccinated and tackle this virus. Just as these new variants sweeping the country are more aggressive than ever, the wave of anti-voter legislation in this country is worse than we’ve seen in generations. That’s why, I will continue the fight for voting rights with every single fiber of my being. I will be tele-working with my colleagues, staff, partners, and allies. We’re planning more good trouble, and hope to make announcements soon. Democracy is in jeopardy, and we will not be stopped in our fight to protect it,” Rep. Fischer said in a statement.
The other legislators that have tested positive have not been announced.
All of the lawmakers that have tested positive are fully-vaccinated, according to Texas House Democratic Caucus officials.
The House Democrats left the state Monday afternoon after breaking quorum, to fight the voting bill. The bill would impose several voting restrictions, including banning drive-thru voting, 24-hour voting, and add changes to mail-in voting, according to The Texas Tribune.
Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan issued a statement Saturday afternoon on the positive cases.
“Kim and I extend our prayers for safety and health for the members of the Texas House Democratic Caucus who tested positive for COVID-19 while in Washington, D.C. My staff has reached out to Dr. John Hellerstedt, Commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, and his epidemiology team for any additional guidance on protocols for those exposed to COVID-19 post-vaccination.”
Senior Advisor and Chief Spokesperson Symone Sanders, with the White House, said although Vice President Kamala Harris met with some of the Texas House Democrats, she and her staff were not at risk of COVID-19 exposure, as they were not in close contact.
“On Tuesday, July 13th, Vice President Harris met with members of the Texas state legislature who are temporarily in Washington, D.C. Earlier today, it was brought to our attention that two of the members at that meeting tested positive for COVID-19. Based on the timeline of these positive tests, it was determined the Vice President and her staff present at the meeting were not at risk of exposure because they were not in close contact with those who tested positive and therefore do not need to be tested or quarantined. The Vice President and her staff are fully vaccinated,” said Sanders in a release.
This is a developing story and we’ll bring more updates as they become available.