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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tests positive for Covid after banning mask, vaccine mandates

Abbott has told people he got a third booster dose of a vaccine.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, has tested positive for Covid-19, a spokesman said Tuesday.

"Governor Abbott is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, in good health, and currently experiencing no symptoms," Mark Miner, the governor's communications director, said in a statement. "Everyone that the Governor has been in close contact with today has been notified. Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott tested negative."

Abbott issued an executive order late last month banning vaccination and mask mandates as case numbers rose in the state and despite pushback from local officials and school districts. In Harris and Tarrant counties — two of the state's most populous areas — school districts defied Abbott's executive order as students prepared to return to classrooms. However, Abbott's order was recently upheld by the state Supreme Court.

Abbott has told people he received a third booster dose of a vaccine, two sources said. Abbott's office did not respond to a request for comment about a booster shot. Except for people with compromised immune systems, booster shots have not been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration, although the Biden administration is expected to announce a program to administer them soon.

Abbott attended a fundraiser in the state Monday evening, hosted by the Republican Club at Heritage Ranch near Dallas. Images and videos posted to social media show an unmasked Abbott chatting with the unmasked attendees.

Miner said Abbott tested positive after having undergone routine testing and that he received Regeneron's monoclonal antibody treatment, which is used for people at considerable risk of developing severe Covid symptoms, including millions of Americans with compromised immune systems. It has been shown to prevent hospitalization among less severe Covid cases if given within 10 days of the onset of symptoms.

Last week, Abbott announced nine new centers statewide where Covid patients could get monoclonal antibody infusions.

Texas recorded 144 deaths Saturday, according to the latest available data. The state also averaged 80 deaths over the last seven days, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — its highest seven-day average of Covid deaths since mid-March. Abbott requested five mortuary trailers from the federal government this week in anticipation of an influx of dead bodies.

Miner said Abbott will self-isolate while working from the Governor's Mansion.

"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," Miner said. "The Governor will isolate in the Governor's Mansion and continue to test daily. Governor Abbott is receiving Regeneron's monoclonal antibody treatment."

Abbott also confirmed in a video posted to Twitter on Tuesday evening that he has no symptoms and will continue to work.

Stephanie Ruhle contributed.