3 Texas House Democrats test positive for Covid-19 in Washington, DC
By Rachel Janfaza, CNN
(CNN) -- Three Texas state House Democrats who traveled to Washington, DC, this week have tested positive for Covid-19, The Texas House Democratic Caucus said in a statement Saturday.
The lawmakers are part of the group that left Texas, flying from Austin to Washington to break the state House's quorum and block Republicans from passing a restrictive new voting law. All three members who tested positive are fully vaccinated, according to the caucus. They were not identified in the Saturday statement.
One member tested positive on Friday night, prompting all caucus members and staff to take a rapid Covid-19 test. On Saturday, two more members tested positive with rapid tests.
The Austin American-Statesman first reported on the lawmakers' positive tests.
Texas House Democratic Caucus Chairman Chris Turner said in the statement that his group is following US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance and protocols, and has contacted public health experts in Texas for additional guidance.
"This is a sober reminder that COVID is still with us, and though vaccinations offer tremendous protection, we still must take necessary precautions," he said.
Fully vaccinated people who have been exposed to Covid-19 but are not showing symptoms do not need to quarantine or get tested for the virus following their exposure, according to current CDC guidance, unless they are in a correctional or detention facility or a homeless shelter.
While in Washington this week, members of the Texas House Democratic Caucus met with Vice President Kamala Harris, as well as with members of Congress, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin.
Harris met on Tuesday with two of the members who have since tested positive but was "not at risk of exposure," Harris senior adviser and chief spokesperson Symone Sanders said in a statement Saturday.
"Based on the timeline of these positive tests, it was determined the Vice President and her staff present at the meeting were not at risk of exposure because they were not in close contact with those who tested positive and therefore do not need to be tested or quarantined," Sanders said, adding that the vice president and her staff are fully vaccinated.
A spokesperson for Schumer said none of the Texas state House members infected with Covid-19 had any contact with his office this week.
CNN has reached out to the Texas House Democratic Caucus about whether the members who tested positive were involved in additional meetings.
Texas state Rep. James Talarico told CNN's Jim Acosta on Saturday that he and his colleagues in the Texas delegation had known their trip to Washington would "bring some risk."
"It brought health risk because there's an active pandemic and many of our members are over the age of 65, yet they chose to travel because this is so much bigger than one politician. It's so much bigger than you or I," Talarico said of their fight to protect access to the ballot box. "This is about the American experiment and whether it's going to survive for future generations."
This story has been updated with additional details Saturday.
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