WASHINGTON, D.C. (KXAN) — A sixth fully vaccinated Texas Democratic lawmaker has tested positive for COVID-19 — the latest breakthrough case among the state House members who traveled to Washington, D.C. to block Texas GOP elections bills.
State Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, confirmed on Tuesday that she’s tested positive. Others who tested positive over the weekend include Reps. Celia Israel, D-Austin, and Trey Martinez Fisher, D-San Antonio.
“Despite following CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines and being fully vaccinated, I tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday,” Howard said in a statement.
Howard added that she is “basically asymptomatic except for some minor congestion.”
Texas Democratic lawmakers staged a mass exodus from the state Capitol two weeks ago to stop elections overhaul bills from being passed — bills many say would restrict, not secure voting rights.
Despite no proof of widespread fraud in Texas’ 2020 Election, state Republicans have honed in on “election integrity” bills. If passed, these laws would limit early voting hours, ban drive-thru and mail-in ballot drop boxes and allow partisan poll watchers to record voters who receive help filling out ballots. It would also criminalize local elections officials encouraging voting by mail.
With Democrats still in Washington — and now with at least six quarantined — the Texas House lacks quorum to proceed with hearings. Democrats say they’re staying at the U.S. Capitol as long as it takes to stop the proposed bills.
“Let this be a reminder that COVID-19 is still very much among us, with infection rates on the rise and more contagious variants spreading nationwide,” Israel said over the weekend. “… Most importantly, I hope this instance highlights the sacrifices we are willing to make for the cause of democracy. I would not change anything to protect the right to vote.”
Meanwhile, Howard warned Texans of the incoming Delta variant, saying: “this variant is hitting the unvaccinated with severe illness and hospitalizations, particularly impacting those under 65. Vaccines work. Everyone, please get vaccinated and protect yourselves.”
COVID-19 positive but fully vaccinated
While it’s highly recommended by the CDC and the federal government that you get a complete treatment of one of the three vaccines currently available, it’s important to remember that vaccines do not mean you cannot be infected.
Nationwide, there have been many “vaccine breakthrough cases” of positive tests despite vaccinations, though these are still a miniscule portion of people who have been vaccinated.
The CDC elaborates on its “What You Should Know About the Possibility of COVID-19 Illness After Vaccination” page, saying: “While these vaccines are effective, no vaccine prevents illness 100% of the time.”
The existence of mutations and new strains also complicate the likelihood of contraction, the CDC notes. Currently, the delta COVID-19 variant is moving across the nation and is the dominant strain in several areas.