Three Democrats from the Texas state House have tested positive for the coronavirus in Washington, D.C. after departing for the nation’s capital earlier this week. according to Texas House Democratic Caucus leadership.
The Texas officials are among more than 50 lawmakers who fled the state Monday to break a quorum, preventing the GOP-controlled House from passing legislation that Republicans say looks to strengthen the integrity of elections.
In photos posted to social media this week, the departing Democrats were seen maskless aboard a private plane en route to D.C. This comes as mask requirements are still enforced on commercial airplanes.
The three lawmakers who tested positive for COVID will isolate for 10 days, according to a memo obtained by the Austin American-Statesman. All of them were vaccinated against the virus. Their names were not made publicly available.
Rep. Donna Howard of Austin, also a former critical care nurse, reached out to a public health physician to determine the safety protocols that the Texas Democrats should follow in Washington to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
She said the lawmakers followed guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention throughout their trip. After three House members tested positive for the virus, Howard said the group continues to follow public health guidelines. The CDC says that the fully vaccinated do not need to wear masks or socially distance in most settings.
“We have been following CDC guidelines and what we are seeing from this is that, as we’ve been told, the Delta variant is more highly contagious, and can actually infect people who are fully vaccinated,” Howard said, according to the American-Statesman. “The good news is that you shouldn’t have much of a problem, even if you test positive, if you’re vaccinated. It also reminds us why it’s so critically important that everyone gets the vaccination.”
The Texas Democrats met with several Washington Democrats this week in hopes of passing federal voting legislation before their state can pass the GOP-sponsored bills that would include banning drive-thru voting and requiring identification to vote.