Another Texas House Democrat tests positive for COVID-19, bringing total cases among quorum-busting lawmakers to 6
WASHINGTON — A sixth Texas House Democrat has tested positive for the coronavirus among nearly 60 who broke quorum and traveled to Washington, D.C., last week to block passage of a GOP voting bill.
State Rep. Donna Howard of Austin, a former nurse who helped determine safety protocols for lawmakers after an initial COVID-19 case was reported on Friday, said she received a positive test result on Monday but is "basically asymptomatic" and plans to isolate.
"Despite following CDC guidelines and being fully vaccinated, I tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday," Howard said in a statement. "The delta variant seems to be much more contagious, even for those vaccinated, than initially thought. Thankfully, I’m vaccinated and feeling well. But this variant is hitting the unvaccinated with severe illness and hospitalizations, particularly impacting those under 65. Vaccines work. Everyone, please get vaccinated and protect yourselves."
The Texas House Democratic Caucus is not releasing the names of members who have tested positive, but three lawmakers have confirmed that they are among those who have contracted the virus and tested positive since Friday.
State Rep. Celia Israel of Austin and Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer of San Antonio also tested positive and reported experiencing mild symptoms. The three other lawmakers who have tested positive have not been publicly identified.
Party officials said all of the lawmakers in Washington have been vaccinated and they will continue to conduct daily rapid tests among members.
Most of the Democrats who broke quorum in the Texas House earlier this month are staying in the same Washington hotel and spent their first week in the city meeting with federal leaders on Capitol Hill — including Vice President Kamala Harris.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at the White House that Harris has since tested negative for the coronavirus.