Three Texas House Democrats, part of the group of lawmakers who recently fled the Lone Star State to block legislation they opposed, have tested positive for the coronavirus.
What are the details?
The Texas House Democratic Caucus announced Saturday that one member of the caucus who fled Texas tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday. After the positive result, all lawmakers and staff took rapid tests, which returned two additional positive results.
The THDC did not identify the lawmakers who tested positive, but said all three were fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The members who tested positive are isolating for 10 days.
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Chris Turner said in a statement:
The House Democratic Caucus is following all CDC guidance and protocols. This is a sober reminder that COVID is still with us, and though vaccinations offer tremendous protection, we still must take necessary precautions. 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.
Although all Texas House Democrats have been vaccinated against COVID-19, the positive tests are perhaps no surprise given the lawmakers have spent the week in confined spaces without masks.
One viral image, for example, showed the Democratic lawmakers packed inside a private plane without wearing face masks.
"There was a notable increase in the use of face coverings among lawmakers and Democratic staffers at their hotel on Saturday morning. Since members arrived late Monday, masks have been used sparingly as they moved through the lobby and held meetings around the city,' the Austin American-Statesman reported.
When are they returning?
It's not yet clear when Texas House Democrats will return to their state.
However, when they do, law enforcement will most likely be waiting for them after the Texas Legislature overwhelmingly voted to issue a "call of the House" to regain quorum. They also passed a resolution requesting "the sergeant at arms, or officers appointed by him, send for all absentees … under warrant of arrest if necessary," the Texas Tribune reported.
Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan (R) offered to charter a plane on which Texas Democratic lawmakers could use to return to Texas, but they refused the offer.