Sign up for The Brief, our daily newsletter that keeps readers up to speed on the most essential Texas news.
U.S. Congressman Troy Nehls, R-Richmond, has tested positive for the coronavirus and is currently symptomatic, according to his social media posts over the weekend.
The former Fort Bend County sheriff announced the diagnoses after posting earlier in the week that a close family member caught the virus. At that time, Nehls said he would clear his calendar out of “an abundance of caution” before returning to official duties. He confirmed Saturday that he'd contracted the virus.
On Sunday afternoon, Nehls informed his Facebook followers he and his wife received the Regeneron monoclonal antibody treatment at St. Michael's Elite Hospital in Sugar Land.
“It took a little over an hour to complete but we’re already starting to feel better,” Nehls wrote on Facebook, noting the treatment is free. “If you’re suffering from a COVID-19 infection, I’d recommend contacting your physician to see if this treatment is right for you.”
The congressman received the same medical treatment as Gov. Greg Abbott did after the latter tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the week. The governor tweeted Saturday he had tested negative for the virus.
The state has recently opened nine antibody treatment centers as a means to curb hospitalizations as cases are once again surging throughout Texas and hospital beds are filling up. The FDA has recommended the antibodies to treat "mild to moderate COVID-19" for those ages 12 years and older who have tested positive and "are at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19."
Nehls is just the latest in a string of national and state lawmakers to report having the virus. U.S. Representatives Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler; Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands; Kay Granger, R-Fort Worth; and Ron Wright, R-Arlington, who died weeks after contracting the virus while battling cancer, all tested positive within the last year.
State Representatives John Raney, R-College Station; Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton; Carl Sherman, D-DeSoto; Travis Clardy, R-Nacogdoches; Joe Deshotel, D-Beaumont; along with six Texas Democrats who traveled to Washington, D.C., to protest Abbott's special session; are among those who have also announced infections.
Both Abbott and Nehls are fully vaccinated and warned in their respective posts they would likely have far worse symptoms if it wasn't for the shot.
"All Americans are free to make their own health decisions, but I strongly encourage getting vaccinated. It is scientifically proven to drastically reduce the risk of severe illness & death from COVID," the congressman wrote Saturday. "You may still get ill, but you’re much less likely to be severely ill or hospitalized if vaccinated."
Join us Sept. 20-25 at the 2021 Texas Tribune Festival. Tickets are on sale now for this multi-day celebration of big, bold ideas about politics, public policy and the day’s news, curated by The Texas Tribune’s award-winning journalists. Learn more.