AUSTIN, Texas – Rep. Kevin Brady said he has tested positive for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
The Southeast Texas congressman and ranking Republican Ways and Means Committee member revealed his test results in a tweet late Tuesday, followed by a prepared statement Wednesday. The disclosure came as a record number of Texas COVID-19 deaths were reported Wednesday.
Brady had been practicing all guidelines laid out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the House physician, including social distancing and mask-wearing, according to the statement. Brady had been tested when he began experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and began receiving outpatient treatment from Walter Reed Medical Center.
Brady received the first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 18 and was to have received his second dose later this week, according to the statement. It was not immediately known where Brady was recovering or whether he was quarantined.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, “the effectiveness of the vaccine after a single dose is inconclusive. He has full confidence in the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine and is incredibly proud of the historic success of Operation Warp Speed,” according to the statement.
The Conroe Republican had been the House Ways and Means Committee chairman until Democrats won a House majority in 2018.
A record 326 COVID-19 deaths were reported Wednesday, shattering the previous record of 278 deaths reported on July 23, according to statistics compiled by the Texas Department of State Health Services. That brought the Texas death toll for the eight-month-old outbreak to 28,545.
The state reported 19,535 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 4,026 probable cases on Wednesday, bringing to almost 1.9 million the number of confirmed and probable cases in Texas. Of those, 320,540 cases were active on Wednesday, a record 13,628 were hospitalized, the 10th consecutive record day.
Austin-area officials announced Wednesday that they were discussing plans to turn the Austin Convention Center into a field hospital as hospitals continue to fill close to their capacities because of the soaring number of COVID-19 cases.
Dr. Mark Escott, the interim Austin-Travis County health director, said local hospitals' intensive-care units were projected to be filled to capacity by Jan. 15. However, the convention center could be pressed into service as a field hospital sooner as a surge of cases from the Christmas and New Year's holidays was expected to intensify, he said.
The convention center was pressed into service as a hospital previously during the July COVID-19 surge for up to 1,500 coronavirus patients.