Two additional Texas House Democrats, who fled the state last Monday to block legislation from passing in the Texas Legislature, have tested positive for COVID-19.
The news comes after the Texas House Democratic Caucus announced Saturday that three caucus members had tested positive for COVID-19.
What are the details?
The Texas House Democratic Caucus announced Sunday that, following three positive tests on Friday and Saturday, the caucus conducted additional testing. As a result, two additional Texas House Democrats tested positive for COVID-19.
That brings the total number of known infections among the caucus to five.
The caucus said in a statement:
In light of some positive COVID-19 tests over the weekend, the House Democratic Caucus has decided to go beyond CDC guidance and provide daily rapid tests for all Members and staff in Washington D.C. for this week. As part of this precautionary testing, today two additional Members who were fully vaccinated tested positive. All of the HDC Members who tested positive are feeling good, with no symptoms or only mild symptoms.
As with the first announcement, the caucus did not disclose the identities of the members who tested positive.
However, Texas State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer later said that he is one of the infected members and is experiencing mild symptoms. State Rep. Celia Israel also revealed that she tested positive, the New York Post noted.
It was not exactly clear why the caucus has such a high rate of infection. The caucus claims all members are vaccinated, which would make its breakthrough rate significantly higher than what has been seen in the general population. From January through April, for example, only 10,262 breakthrough cases were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention despite 101 millions Americans being fully vaccinated during the same time period.
According to the Texas Tribune, 56 Texas House Democrats fled to Washington, which would put their current breakthrough rate at nearly 10% — or nearly 1,000 times greater than the general population.
The Texas lawmakers plan to be in Washington for several more weeks.
What about VP Harris?
Texas Democrats were pictured last week gathering in confined spaces without social distancing or face masks.
One of their meetings included Vice President Kamala Harris, who made a surprise trip to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Sunday for what her office claimed was a routine medical appointment.
Symone Sanders, senior adviser and chief spokeswoman for Harris, said Saturday that Harris was "not at risk of exposure" during the meeting because she did not come into close contact with the infected House Democrats.