By Terrance Turner
Aug. 17, 2021
Texas Governor Greg Abbott tested positive for COVID-19 today, his office says. The governor is isolating in the Governor’s Mansion and not experiencing any symptoms, according to his spokesperson.
“Governor Abbott is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, in good health, and currently experiencing no symptoms,” Mark Miner, the governor’s communications director, said in a statement. “Everyone that the Governor has been in close contact with today has been notified. Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott tested negative.”
“The Governor has been testing daily, and today was the first positive test result,” Miner said. “Governor Abbott is in constant communication with his staff, agency heads, and government officials to ensure that state government continues to operate smoothly and efficiently.”
Abbott, who is fully vaccinated, appears to have contracted a breakthrough infection. He is reportedly receiving Regeneron, a monoclonal antibody treatment that prevents patients from becoming very sick. According to the CDC, older adults are more likely to develop severe illness from COVID-19, and those with disabilities may be more likely to get infected. Abbott, 63, is wheelchair-bound.
The governor tweeted pictures last night from a “standing-room only” crowd at a fundraiser in Dallas. According to the Dallas Morning News, the event was sponsored by the Republican Club in Collin County. Abbott appeared maskless in front of a largely maskless crowd:
This news comes as the governor continues to resist calls to reverse his actions. Abbott was sued last week by several Texas counties (including Harris and Dallas) due to his executive order banning school districts from requiring masks indoors. The Texas Supreme Court upheld his order on Sunday. But State District Judge Jan Soifer issued temporary restraining orders against Gov. Greg Abbott’s ban on mask mandates, clearing the way for Harris County and eight school districts to enact their own mask-wearing rules. Soifer also barred Abbott from enforcing his order “against Texas independent school districts,” according to the Texas Tribune.
So far, Gov. Abbott shows no signs of reversing his orders banning mask mandates or vaccine passports in Texas. “No governmental entity can compel any individual to receive a
COVID-19 vaccine administered under an emergency use authorization,” he wrote in an order last month. “I hereby suspend Section 81.082(fl(1) of the Texas Health and Safety Code to the extent necessary to ensure that no governmental entity can compel any individual to receive a COVID-19 vaccine administered under an emergency use authorization.”
“State agencies and political subdivisions shall not adopt or enforce any order, ordinance, policy, regulation, rule, or similar measure that requires an individual to provide, as a condition of receiving any service or entering any place, documentation regarding the
individual’s vaccination status for any COVID-19 vaccine administered under an emergency use authorization,” the order stated.
This follows an executive order in May banning state governmental entities — including cities, counties, school districts or officials — from having mask mandates. Starting Friday, May 21, any government entity that tries to impose a mask mandate can face a fine of up to $1,000, according to the order. Exceptions to the order include jails, state-supported living centers, and government-owned or -operated hospitals.
Meanwhile, Texas is weathering yet another spike in COVID-19 cases. Staffers told NBC News that the state has asked FEMA to send mortuary trucks, bracing for an influx of bodies. 96 new deaths were reported today, according to the Tribune. The graphs below display the rise in hospitalizations and new cases.