Governor Greg Abbott of Texas attended a “standing room only” event where many guests were not wearing masks the evening before he tested positive for COVID-19.
Abbott, a Republican, tested positive on Tuesday but is not experiencing symptoms. He is fully vaccinated and is self-isolating at the governor’s mansion.
He posted photos on Twitter of the event—a gathering organized by the Heritage Ranch Republican Club in Collin County on Monday. The images show members of the crowd not wearing face coverings.
Abbott tweeted: “Another standing room only event in Collin County tonight.
“Thank y’all for the enthusiastic reception. Let’s keep this energy up and send a message that Texas values are NOT up for grabs in 2022.”
The photos show Abbott on stage in front of a packed audience, most of whom are not wearing masks.
The event was also attended by Mark Reid, chairman of the Collin County Republican Party. He told The Texas Tribune on Tuesday: “I don’t know the incubation period between being exposed to the virus, exhibiting symptoms and being contagious, so I don’t know if people that attended are at risk for contracting the virus from the event.
“I expect that many will be tested and will self-quarantine.”
Reid added: “The people at Heritage Ranch last night choose Liberty!”
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the incubation period for COVID-19 and other coronaviruses ranges from two to 14 days.
Hours before his positive test on Tuesday, Abbott met with guitarist Jimmie Vaughan, also sharing photos of that meeting on Twitter. None of those photographed was wearing a face covering.
“Honor to meet with @JimmieVaughan—brother of Stevie Ray Vaughan and a legendary Texas musician in his own right,” Abbott tweeted.
Vaughan’s team issued a statement on Tuesday saying the guitarist and his family had tested negative.
Abbott’s spokesperson, Mark Miner, issued a statement about the diagnosis on Tuesday, saying: “The governor has been testing daily, and today was the first positive test result.
“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 also said the people who had been in close contact with Abbott had been informed about his positive test.
Last month, Abbott issued an executive order that prohibited local governments and officials in Texas from imposing mask mandates and introduced potential fines of up to $1,000 for those who tried to enforce mask-wearing.
Dallas and Bexar counties introduced mask mandates for schoolchildren in defiance of the order. The courts initially sided with the counties but Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton appealed to the state supreme court, which ruled against the mandates.
Newsweek has asked the office of Governor Greg Abbott for comment.