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Number of Infected Texas Lawmakers Who Fled State Rises to 5

July 19, 2021by Douglas K. Daniel, Associated Press
exas State Rep. Senfronia Thompson, dean of the Texas House of Representatives, speaks as Democratic members of the Texas legislature hold a news conference at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two more Texas lawmakers who left their state to hobble efforts to pass new voting restrictions have tested positive for the coronavirus, raising to five the number of infected people in the delegation.

State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer of San Antonio said in a statement Sunday that he had tested positive. “I am quarantining until I test negative, and I am grateful to be only experiencing extremely mild symptoms,” he said.

A person familiar with the delegation said the number of infected members had risen to five. The person was not authorized to discuss the matter and requested anonymity.

More than 50 Texas lawmakers traveled to Washington on Monday aboard a private charter flight. A caucus official has said all had been vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says “breakthrough” infections — vaccinated people becoming infected — are rare.

After a photo showed them maskless on the plane, Republicans and others criticized the lawmakers for traveling without masks. But federal pandemic guidelines don’t require masks to be worn on private aircraft.

Vice President Kamala Harris, who had met last week with members of the Texas delegation, went to the Walter Reed military hospital on Sunday for a routine doctor’s appointment, a White House official said. No other information was released, and the White House did not respond to questions about Harris’ visit.

After some of the lawmakers tested positive for the virus, Harris’ spokesperson said Saturday that Harris and her staff were not at risk of exposure because they were not in close contact with those who tested positive and added that Harris and her staff were fully vaccinated.

The Democrats fled the state to deny the Republican-controlled Legislature the necessary quorum to pass the voting laws. 

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