Editor’s note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape’s Coronavirus Resource Center.
Multiple fully vaccinated officials in the US and the UK have announced that they have tested positive for COVID-19, which has reignited questions around quarantine procedures and public health policies.
At least five Texas state House Democrats who traveled to Washington, DC, to block House Republicans from passing a new restrictive voting law have tested positive, according to CNN.
One lawmaker tested positive on Friday, which prompted all Texas House Democratic Caucus members and staff to take rapid COVID-19 tests, CNN reported.
All members who tested positive are reportedly fully vaccinated. The caucus said the group is following CDC guidelines and has contacted public health experts in Texas for additional guidance.
“This is a sober reminder that COVID is still with us, and though vaccinations offer tremendous protection, we still must take necessary precautions,” Chris Turner, the chairman of the caucus, said in a statement.
Fully vaccinated people who have been exposed to COVID-19 but are not showing symptoms don’t have to quarantine or get tested after the exposure, according to current CDC guidelines.
Earlier this week, the Texas caucus members met with Vice President Kamala Harris, Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Joe Manchin. Harris and Schumer weren’t at risk for exposure, CNN reported.
“Based on the timeline of these positive tests, it was determined the Vice President and her staff present at the meeting were not at risk of exposure because they were not in close contact with those who tested positive and therefore do not need to be tested or quarantined,” Symone Sanders, the chief spokesperson for Harris, said in a statement.
On Saturday, Sajid Javid, the health minister for the UK, announced that he tested positive for COVID-19, according to Reuters. Javid is fully vaccinated and has mild symptoms. He will self-isolate and work from home.
“This morning I tested positive for COVID,” he wrote in a Twitter post. “Please make sure you come forward for your vaccine if you haven’t already.”
After the announcement, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and UK Finance Minister Rishi Sunak said they had been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and would take part in a “pilot scheme” that would allow them to keep working and undergo daily testing rather than self-isolate, according to the BBC.
However, hours later, they changed course after backlash from political opponents and voters. They will now isolate and conduct meetings remotely.
Despite a growing number of COVID-19 cases, England still lifted nearly all remaining coronavirus restrictions today, NBS News reported. About 50,000 new cases are being reported each day, causing thousands of workers to self-isolate and some businesses to close their doors.
Monday’s shift will remove face mask requirements, lift limits on social gatherings, and allow high-risk businesses such as nightclubs and sports stadiums to reopen.
Officials have said that restrictions should be lifted since COVID-19 vaccines reduce the risk for serious illness and deaths. About 88% of adults have received one vaccine, and 68% are fully vaccinated, according to Public Health England.
CNN: “3 Texas House Democrats test positive for Covid-19 in Washington, DC.”
CDC: “Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People.”
Reuters: “UK health minister Javid tests positive for COVID-19.”
Twitter: @sajidjavid, July 17, 2021.
Public Health England: “Vaccinations in United Kingdom.”
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