U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris speaks while meeting with Texas legislators in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. Texas House Democrats, after fleeing Austin to forestall passage there of a law that would put new voting restrictions in place, descended on Capitol Hill where a total of five have confirmed they contracted COVID-19. Photo by Oliver Contreras/UPI | License Photo
July 19 (UPI) -- Two Texas state Democrats have confirmed they tested positive for COVID-19 for a total of five to be sicken by the virus after fleeing the state to prevent Republicans from passing a restrictive voting law last week.
Trey Martinez Fischer and Celia Israel, both fully vaccinated, said Sunday that they had contracted the virus nearly a week after they were among the roughly 60 Democratic state representatives who flew to Washington, D.C., upon two planes last Monday to deny the Republicans the quorum needed to pass a controversial restrictive voting bill during a special legislative session.
In a statement late Sunday, Martinez Fischer said his Democratic colleagues knew the personal risk they were taking.
"When my Texas House Democratic colleagues and I broke quorum to stop anti-voter legislations, we knew that tactic would come with real personal sacrifice," he said. "Those sacrifices are made more real as we grapple with the pandemic that has touched everyone in some way."
Martinez Fischer said he was notified Sunday morning of his positive test result and was quarantining until he produces a negative reading.
"I am grateful to be only experiencing extremely mild symptoms," he said.
Israel said her test result came back positive for the virus Saturday.
"I'm doing well and hope to get over the infection quickly with only mild symptoms," she said. "I am currently quarantining until I test negative."
Their announcements came after three other fully vaccinated Democrats tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday night. Those three members were not identified.
The Texas House Democratic Caucus on Sunday announced that in light of the positive tests over the weekend, it would "go beyond" Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance and provide daily rapid tests to all members and staff in Washington, D.C.
"All of the [House Democratic colleagues] who tested positive are feeling good, with no symptoms or only mild symptoms," it said in a statement. "The HDC will, and ask others to, respect the privacy of Members and their personal health."
Donna Howard, a Democratic House representative for Texas, tweeted Sunday that they are following COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
"Vaccines work & even protect those who are fully vaccinated but end up testing positive from suffering serious illness," she said. "Encourage everyone to get vaccinated."