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Texas governor tests positive for Covid-19

A spokesperson for Governor Greg Abbott said he is in good health and is not experiencing any symptoms.

AUSTIN, Texas (CN) — Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott, an outspoken opponent of mask mandates and other pandemic-related restrictions, tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday, despite being fully vaccinated.

Abbott, who is tested daily, will be isolating in the governor's mansion and is receiving treatment, according to a spokesperson. First Lady Cecilia Abbott tested negative.

On his personal Twitter account, Abbott has shared photos of recent public events he has attended. One such event was held Monday night, and from pictures Abbott shared, many in attendance appeared not to be wearing masks. He was speaking before the Heritage Ranch Republican Club. Heritage Ranch is an age 55 and up living community near Dallas.

The Lone Star State has become a hotspot for transmission of the virus largely due to unvaccinated Texans contracting the highly contagious delta variant. Hospitalizations in the state are expected to reach over 10,000, with a limited number of intensive care unit beds available. 

In the lead-up to the new school year, Abbott has voiced his opposition to mask and vaccine mandates as well as people being required to share their vaccination status. On July 29, he signed an executive order barring any governmental entity in the state from implementing a mask mandate or requiring people to get vaccinated.

Across the state, in Texas’ largest cities, public officials have been defying the governor's order and taking him to court to allow them to enforce public health measures. The Texas Supreme Court, however, sided with Abbott and allowed his ban to continue.

Many students in Texas began school this week as the legal battles rage on.

Fourteen disabled students in the state filed a lawsuit Tuesday in federal court in Austing seeking injunctive relief from Abbott's order.

The plaintiffs allege the exective order violates the Americans with Disabilities Act and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act by preventing schools from implementing preventative measures that allow children with weakened immune systems to safely participate in school activities. Additionally, the students assert that the order stands in the way of funds allocated by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 that are supposed to allow for schools to practice "policies in line with ... the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."

"Texans have mastered the safe practices that help to prevent and avoid the spread of Covid-19. They have the individual right and responsibility to decide for themselves and their children whether they will wear masks, open their businesses, and engage in leisure activities," Abbott said in a press release announcing his executive order.

Local Democratic leaders in Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio have taken the stance that mask mandates and encouraging vaccinations are essential to saving lives.

Austin's Medical Director/Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes said in a press release on Aug. 11: "Masks address the surge, and vaccinations will end the pandemic. To get out of this, we need to do both as a community."

In Harris County, home to Houston, County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced that starting Tuesday, they will give $100 cash cards to everyone who gets their first vaccine dose through Harris County Public Health.

As of Tuesday, the Department of State Health Services estimated over 200,000 active cases of Covid-19 in Texas and 96 new reported deaths. Since the pandemic began, over 600,000 Americans who have lost their lives to Covid-19. More than 50,000 of them were Texans.

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Categories / Government, Health, Politics, Regional

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