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Coronavirus in Texas

U.S. Rep. Sylvia Garcia moves to self-quarantine after exposure to coronavirus

The Houston Democrat isn't the first member of the state's delegation who has taken such action.

U.S. Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, at The Texas Tribune Festival in 2018.

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Sylvia R. Garcia, a Houston Democrat, announced Friday that she was exposed to the coronavirus and will be self-quarantining.

The congresswoman has been tested and awaits results, according to a statement. Under the recommendation of her physician and the House attending doctor, she will be self-isolating, following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. The exposure came via a family member who has tested positive.

"I will be taking the necessary precautions to make sure I can continue fighting for our community," she said in a statement. "I want this to serve as a reminder for everyone in the Houston region and across the country that we are still combating COVID-19 and that everyone should be following public health guidelines that will help keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy."

Garcia has been one of the more active Texas Democratic members of Congress since the onset of the pandemic, which has upended normal congressional business.

Last month, a number of Texas members backed a new rules change to allow some members to cast votes in the place of colleagues who avoided congressional travel to and from Washington during the pandemic. Noting that she lived near an international airport and could make a direct flight to Washington, Garcia voted on behalf of her fellow freshman, U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-El Paso.

Garcia was in Washington this week, participating in a House Judiciary Committee hearing while wearing a mask.

She is not the first Texas member to self-quarantine.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz was one of the first lawmakers to engage in a self-quarantine in March. U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, announced in early March that he was potentially exposed, but under the direction of the U.S. House physician, he returned to Congress. And after running a fever, U.S. Rep. Lizzie Pannill Fletcher self-quarantined but ultimately tested negative for the coronavirus.

Valeria Olivares contributed to this report.

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