Three Texas state Democrats who fled to Washington test positive for COVID – Reuters

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris meets with Democratic members of the Texas state legislature who fled the state in an effort to slow changes to election laws and voter access, in Washington, U.S., July 13, 2021. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON, July 17 (Reuters) – Three members of a delegation of Democratic Texas state lawmakers who fled to Washington D.C. to block passage of a restrictive new Republican-sponsored voting law tested positive for COVID-19, the Texas State House Democratic Caucus said on Saturday.

The three Texas House Democratic lawmakers had been vaccinated against the coronavirus, but tested positive over the last 24 hours, according to a caucus statement.

Vice President Kamala Harris had met on Tuesday with two of the lawmakers who have since tested positive.

Based on the timeline of the test results, “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,” Harris’ spokesperson Symone Sanders said in a statement.

“The vice president and her staff are fully vaccinated,” Sanders added.

Texas state Representative Ron Reynolds, one of the Democrats who traveled to Washington, told MSNBC the test results were cause for caution.

“We are taking these positive confirmations very seriously,” Reynolds said. “We’re following all CDC guidelines and … we are going to make sure that we don’t expose anyone.”

COVID-19 cases in the United States have surged over the past week with new cases up 70% and deaths rising 26%.

Some members of the Texas delegation met over the past week in Washington not only with Harris but also with congressional Democratic leaders including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Schumer’s office, in a separate statement, said it was informed that none of the Texas lawmakers who tested positive for COVID-19 had had contact with him or his staff.

Reporting by Joel Schectman, additional reporting by Matt Spetalnick and David Morgan; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Richard Chang

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