Three Texas House Democrats who traveled to Washington, D.C., test positive for coronavirus

More than 51 Texas House Democrats left the state last week to stop Republicans from taking up elections bills during the special session. Credit: Shuran Huang for The Texas Tribune

Three Democratic members of the Texas House of Representatives have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the Texas House Democratic Caucus.

The three lawmakers are among House Democrats who fled to Washington, D.C., earlier this week to stave off GOP priority voting bills during the special legislative session. The three members who tested positive all have been fully vaccinated, which helps protect against severe illness.

On Friday night, one member tested positive for the coronavirus and immediately alerted colleagues, who, in addition to staff members, took rapid tests. On Saturday morning, two additional members tested positive after taking rapid tests. The cases were first reported by the Austin American-Statesman.

In a statement, Rep. Chris Turner of Grand Prairie, the caucus chair, said the caucus is adhering to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and following protocols. According to the CDC, fully vaccinated people do not need to quarantine if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive and they are showing no symptoms. Also, if traveling in the United States, fully vaccinated people do not need to get tested or self-quarantine before or after travel.

"This is a sober reminder that COVID is still with us, and though vaccinations offer tremendous protection, we still must take necessary precautions," Turner said. "We are in touch with public health experts in Texas to provide additional guidance. Our caucus will follow all recommendations from public health experts as we continue our work."

In recent days, Republican lawmakers, who have criticized House Democrats’ move to break quorum, have urged their colleagues to return to the Capitol before the current special session ends Aug. 6. More than 51 Democrats left the state last week, leaving the House without the minimum number of lawmakers required to conduct business. However, a handful of Democrats have remained adamant that they don’t plan on returning to the state any time soon.

This article originally appeared in the Texas Tribune.

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