In a video posted on Twitter on Tuesday night, Abbott said that he has been vaccinated against the coronavirus “and that may be one reason why I’m really not feeling any symptoms right now; I have no fever, no aches and pains, no other types of symptoms.”
“I want you to know that as I work my way through this, I will stay engaged every single day in everything happening at the Texas Capitol,” he added.
A spokesman for Abbott, Mark Miner, said in a statement that Texas first lady Cecilia Abbott had tested negative and that everyone with whom the governor was in close contact Tuesday had been notified.
However, videos and photos posted online by Abbott’s gubernatorial campaign show him delivering remarks and mingling with a maskless crowd of more than 100 people indoors at an event in Texas on Monday night.
Abbott’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether those who attended the event had been contacted since the governor received his diagnosis.
“The Governor has been testing daily, and today was the first positive test result,” Miner said Tuesday. “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. The Governor will isolate in the Governor’s Mansion and continue to test daily.”
Abbott also is receiving Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody treatment, Miner said.
The treatment, which was given to President Donald Trump when he had the coronavirus last year, is designed to prevent infected people from developing severe illness.
Abbott’s escalating efforts to stop mask mandates have ended up in the Texas courts.
The governor has asked hospitals to halt non-emergency medical procedures as thousands of covid-19 patients strain wards already struggling with a shortage of nurses, but he has kept his order banning local mask and vaccine mandates.
On Monday, a Texas judge granted a temporary injunction requested by San Antonio and Bexar County against Abbott’s executive order barring local governments from issuing mask mandates. The decision came one day after the Texas Supreme Court sided with Abbott to allow the governor’s ban on mask mandates to stand, at least temporarily.
Abbott and several other Republican governors, including Florida’s Ron DeSantis, have said they think parents should decide whether their children wear masks in school. But surging infections and hospitalizations in both states have left many parents worried about sending their children back into classrooms where others are not masked and could transmit the virus.
Texas and Florida account for 40 percent of new hospitalizations nationwide, the White House said last week. As of Tuesday, the seven-day average of new cases in Texas was 15,554, and the seven-day average of new deaths was 92. Covid-related hospitalizations rose more than 20 percent in the past week in Texas.
Earlier this month, the Texas Department of State Health Services requested five mortuary trailers from the federal government in anticipation of a possible spike in deaths brought about by the surging coronavirus numbers, a spokesman for the agency confirmed Tuesday.
NBC News previously reported the state’s request for mortuary trailers.
Speaking Tuesday afternoon at a Washington Post Live event as news of Abbott’s diagnosis broke, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.) said he wished the governor a speedy recovery.
“My heart goes out to the governor, and I know the severity will not be as intense because he’s been vaccinated,” McCaul said.