Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tested positive for the COVID-19 virus on Tuesday, August 17 — one day after appearing at a Republican club event in Fairview, a suburb north of Dallas.
Abbott was tested daily before the August 17 positive result, his communications director Mark Mine announced.
The governor — who is fully vaccinated — is in “good health” and is currently experiencing no symptoms and is receiving Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody treatment, per a statement. He will be isolated in the governor’s mansion but plans to be in “constant communication with his staff, agency heads, and government officials to ensure that state government continues to operate smoothly and efficiently,” Mine’s statement notes.
Meanwhile, all those the governor has been in close contact with have been notified and Texas first lady Cecilia Abbott has tested negative, his office adds.
According to WFAA, on Monday night, Abbott attended a meeting at the Republican Club at Heritage Ranch, in the Collin County town of Fairview. Video of the event was posted to his campaign's Twitter page. The well-attended event looks to be indoors, and the governor and most attendees appear to be unmasked.
Abbott recently signed an executive order that banned local governing entities, medical authorities, and school districts from instituting their own COVID-19 protocols, including mask mandates. Championing “personal responsibility” in the face of COVID infections, Abbott mandated that those who defy the order will face a $1,000 charge.
The order has been met with myriad legal challenges by local governments, but was upheld by the Texas Supreme Court on August 15.
Kellen Zale, a professor at the University of Houston Law Center, told ABC13 that Abbott claims to be operating under the Texas Disaster Act, but is using that power of authority differently than governors before him.
“The Texas Disaster Act has not been used this way in the past,” Zale said. “Previous governors have used this state disaster act to essentially help local governments get through the bureaucracy, and this governor is claiming it gives him the authority to do something else. This essentially suspends the preexisting powers the local government would have to actually address public health emergencies, and so it is a frustrating situation, particularly in the counties where there are escalated cases.”