Two more Texas Democrats who travelled from Austin to Washington DC in an attempt to delay the passage of Republican-backed voting laws have tested positive for Covid-19, according to the Texas House Democratic Caucus.
The number of delegation members to have tested positive for coronavirus has now gone up to five. Three were reported to have contracted the virus on Saturday. However, all the infected members are fully vaccinated.
“In light of some positive Covid-19 tests over the weekend, the House Democratic Caucus has decided to go beyond CDC guidance and provide daily rapid tests for all Members and staff in Washington DC for this week,” the Caucus said in its statement.
Though the statement did not include the names of the infected members, representative Trey Martinez Fischer came forward to confirm that he had tested positive for the virus.
In a statement, he said that while he tested negative for the infection on Friday and Saturday, his rapid antigen test on Sunday turned out to be positive. He added that he is experiencing “extremely mild symptoms.”
Earlier on Saturday, representative Celia Israel said she tested positive for the virus. She was one of the three other positive cases in the delegation.
More than 50 Texas lawmakers had arrived in Washington on Monday on a private chartered plane. The group, however, received backlash after several lawmakers posed for a picture on board without wearing a face mask.
The members of the Caucus met vice president Kamala Harris, as well as members of Congress, including Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Joe Manchin.
The vice president’s office denied the risk of exposure to Ms Harris and her staff as “they were not in close contact with those who tested positive and therefore do not need to be tested or quarantined.”
Though Ms Harris on Sunday visited Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre hospital, her visit was in connection to a previously scheduled appointment and was not related to the recently reported coronavirus cases, said her office.
The Democratic lawmakers fled to DC in a bid to prevent Republicans from passing what has been deemed as a more restrictive new voting law. The bill aims to add new identification requirements for mail-in ballots, prohibit drive-through and 24-hour voting locations and empower partisan poll watchers.
The State House in Austin reconvened on Tuesday but the missing Democrats meant that under its rules there were not enough members present to conduct business.
Additional reporting from the wires