Texas Gov. Greg Abbott at a 'Republican Club at Heritage Ranch' event Monday. Look at all the masks! Photo: Greg Abbott on Twitter.

Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott has tested positive for COVID-19, according to an announcement from his office Tuesday. A spokesperson for Abbott said the governor is fully vaccinated and isn't having any symptoms. He's isolating at the Governor's Mansion in Austin, and being treated with monoclonal antibodies, according to the statement from spokesperson Mark Miner.

The statement added that "Everyone that the Governor has been in close contact with today has been notified," which we should note is more than is required when an infected student shows up to a public school in Texas. First Lady Cecilia Abbott has tested negative for the virus.

Abbott posted a video to Twitter a couple hours after the announcement to say that he feels super, thanks for asking, and noting that he is fully vaccinated, which he said is the likely reason he's not experiencing any symptoms.

Beyond that, however, Abbott stopped short of using the video to urge people to get vaccinated themselves, because that would be awfully controversial, now wouldn't it?


The Associated Press has been keeping a tally, and reports that Abbott is "at least the 11th governor to test positive for the virus since the pandemic began." Public health experts agree Abbott has been a real dick about measures to control the spread of the coronavirus, suing local governments to prevent them from requiring face masks in public even as Texas hospitals fill up with patients due to the Delta variant.

Abbott continued the Republican tradition of holding potential superspreader events Monday, the day before his positive test, appearing at a packed GOP event near Dallas where virtually no one wore a mask.

Video posted by his campaign shows the 63-year-old governor — who is up for reelection in 2022 and has drawn two GOP challengers who have attacked the virus restrictions he put in place last year — mingling with attendees as they gathered around him taking pictures.

"Another standing room only event in Collin County tonight," Abbott tweeted.

The event was held by a group called the Republican Club at Heritage Ranch. Reached by phone Tuesday after Abbott announced he had tested positive, Jack DeSimone, president of the club, said he did not like "to have conversations like this" and declined to comment further on Abbott's appearance.

Collin County, we'll just note, currently has a "high" rate of community transmission, and under CDC guidelines, people should be wearing masks indoors and social distancing regardless of whether they've been vaccinated. Abbott has opposed most public health measures that poll badly, instead urging people to take "personal responsibility."

Here is Abbott's tweet from Monday night, showing Texas Republicans' idea of being personally responsible.

Not to worry, though, because Miner, the spokesperson, said it was Abbott's only scheduled public event this week, and besides, he'd had a negative test Monday before the gathering.

Also in Texas Tuesday, the AP reports:

More than 12,200 patients in Texas were hospitalized with the virus as of Tuesday, the highest levels since January, and state health officials said this week they had requested five morgue trailers from the federal government as a precaution. [...]

By Tuesday, at least four Texas school districts had already temporarily closed because of virus outbreaks just days into students returning to class. And in a sign of tensions as schools defy Abbott's orders, the superintendent of the Eanes school district near Austin said one parent "physically assaulted" one teacher by ripping a mask off her face.

Texas values: Not up for grabs, as long as you don't try to force communism on schoolchildren by taking that "personal responsibility" thing too far and wearing a mask. Then the grabbing starts. Clearly, teachers just need to buy masks with "Texas Values" printed on them.

[Texas Tribune / AP]

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