Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who’s fought local officials throughout the state on mask mandates, has tested positive for Covid-19, his office announced Tuesday.
Abbott is fully vaccinated, “is in good health, and currently experiencing no symptoms,” his office said in a statement.
Abbott is receiving Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody treatment and plans to isolate in the governor’s mansion, his office said. His wife, Cecilia Abbott, tested negative. The governor, who is otherwise healthy, was left paralyzed below the waist after an oak tree fell on him while he was jogging in 1984, leaving him in a wheelchair. His age, 63, places him in a higher risk category for suffering from a severe case if he contracts the virus. However, he’s told people he received a third, or booster, dose of the vaccine, two sources told NBC News.
“Governor Abbott is in constant communication with his staff, agency heads, and government officials to ensure that state government continues to operate smoothly and efficiently,” his office said. The governor’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for further comment.
The announcement of Abbott’s illness comes a day after he made a campaign stop at the Republican Club of Heritage Ranch, which is north of Dallas, where he can be seen surrounded by a large crowd of unmasked attendees.
It also comes just days after the governor called for 2,500 out-of-state medical personnel to combat the coronavirus. He also requested that state hospitals postpone all elective procedures to clear room to treat more Covid patients as the delta variant floods the state’s health-care infrastructure.
Abbott unveiled a plan Friday to launch nine monoclonal antibody infusion centers across the state as Covid patients clog up hospitals. Almost 45% of Texas’ 6,959 reported intensive care beds are currently occupied by coronavirus patients, compared with 26% nationwide, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Texas reported a seven-day average of more than 15,000 new Covid cases as of Tuesday, an increase of over 6% from a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Abbott, a staunch opponent of mask and vaccine mandates, issued an executive order in July banning local governments and school districts from requiring either masks or vaccines and fining those who failed to comply $1,000. School districts in San Antonio and Dallas defied Abbott by instituting mask mandates after appeals courts issued temporary restraining orders last week that initially prevented Abbott from enforcing his ban.
But the Texas Supreme Court sided with Abbott on Sunday, temporarily blocking the mask mandates from taking effect. Local city and school officials say they plan to continue fighting Abbott’s mask ban in the courts.