AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tested positive for COVID-19 Tuesday, the governor’s office announced in a release.
Abbott shared a video Tuesday night, saying he has been vaccinated for COVID-19 and isn’t experiencing symptoms. According to the release, everyone that the governor has been in close contact with Tuesday has been notified.
“Today is the first day I tested positive. The good news is that my wife continues to test negative. I have received the COVID-19 vaccine and that may be one reason why I’m really not feeling any symptoms right now. I have no fever, no aches or pains or other types of symptoms. I want to express my gratitude for everybody across the entire country that has been sending in their well wishes. Similarly, I want to send well wishes myself to everybody across the country and especially here in Texas for everybody else who is going through the challenge of having COVID. I want you to know that as I work my way through this — I will stay engaged every single day on everything happening at the Texas Capitol,” Abbott said.
Gov. Abbott is tested daily for COVID-19.
Rodney Rohde, an infectious disease specialist at Texas State University, says that patients with the delta variant become infectious earlier than with the original strain.
“People infected with the original form of the SARS-CoV-2 virus were mostly likely to develop symptoms and/or test positive between five and six days after exposure to the virus,” he wrote in an email to KXAN News. “They typically became infectious — able to transmit the virus to others — during the 48 hours before they became symptomatic or tested positive.”
Rohde says delta, which is now the dominant strain in the U.S., likely means we are infectious 48 hours or more before testing positive.
Dr. Jan Patterson, member of the Texas Medical Association’s COVID-19 Task Force, says it’s possible that someone could test negative while contagious.
“That’s correct, because it’s possible that you could have had some virus there but it just wasn’t detected, yet,” says Patterson, who also specializes in infectious diseases.
The release says the governor “is in constant communication with his staff, agency heads, and government officials to ensure that state government continues to operate smoothly and efficiently. The Governor will isolate in the Governor’s Mansion and continue to test daily. Governor Abbott is receiving Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody treatment.”
A spokesperson said Abbott started the Regeneron treatment based off recommendations that treatment starts within 10 days of testing positive and before symptoms. Normally, Regeneron treatment is used on patients at risk of developing severe symptoms from COVID-19. That includes older patients, according to the FDA’s fact sheet.
“The latest authorization for these monoclonals — a newer authorization, is that it can even be administered when someone at risk is exposed to the virus,” says Dr. Patterson.
Abbott received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 22, 2020. He was among the first group of Texans to receive the vaccine as political leaders across the country worked to build public confidence and support in the shot. The first doses from Pfizer began arriving in Texas Dec. 14.
NBC News reports it has two sources who say Abbott received a third booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. His press office told Nexstar’s Monica Madden they are “not aware” of a third dose.
Gov. Abbott’s latest engagements, based off social media
Tuesday, Aug. 17
Abbott met and posed for photos with Austin musician Jimmie Vaughn, according to his social media. The post was shared around 1 p.m. Tuesday around three hours before Abbott’s office released the news of the positive test.
Vaughn released a statement on Twitter, saying — “We want to let everyone know, that despite the news today of Governor Abbott’s positive Covid diagnosis, Jimmie & family have tested negative and are doing fine. Thanks so very much to all who reached out with concern. We wish the Governor a speedy recovery.“
Monday, Aug. 16
Gov. Abbott attended a Republican Club meeting in North Texas Monday night, according to his social media. Abbott wrote — “Another standing room only event in Collin County tonight. Thank y’all for the enthusiastic reception.“
Few masks, if any, could be seen in the crowd, despite the CDC’s recommendation for everyone to wear one while indoors in places with high transmission rates. That includes Collin County, according to the agency’s latest COVID-19 transmission map.
A spokesperson told KXAN this was the only public event for the week.
Friday, Aug. 13
Gov. Abbott signed a proclamation beside dignitaries from India, recognizing the country’s 75 years of independence. Abbott’s tweet read — “I’m honored to sign a proclamation recognizing this momentous anniversary & the partnership between Texas & India.”