Outgoing Texas House speaker tests positive for coronavirus

FILE - In this May 23, 2019, file photo, Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, right, with Governor Greg Abbott, left, speaks at a news conference at the Texas Governor's Mansion in Austin, Texas. Bonnen called a female lawmaker "vile" and joked about a Democrat being gay in a secretly recorded meeting with a conservative activist. Bonnen also said in the tape released Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, that President Donald Trump "is killing us" in urban and suburban districts ahead of the 2020 elections. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

DALLAS (AP) — Dennis Bonnen, the outgoing speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, said Sunday that he has tested positive for COVID-19, as coronavirus hospitalizations in the state hovered just below their summer peak.

Bonnen, 48, wrote on Facebook that he was diagnosed with the disease this weekend after his wife tested positive last week. The Republican said his symptoms have so far been mild and that his family is quarantined.

The speaker announced his illness on a day when state health officials said there were 10,886 people hospitalized in Texas with confirmed cases of COVID-19, less than 10 patients below the all-time high in July. Intensive care units in several parts of Texas were full or nearly full, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

On Sunday, the health department reported 6,105 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, another 1,452 probable cases and 51 new deaths.

The actual number of coronavirus cases is believed to be far higher because many people haven’t been tested and some who get the disease don’t show symptoms.

Health officials have warned that holiday gatherings and travel are likely to further spread the virus. Bonnen said his family remained isolated for Christmas and that they don’t know how they were initially exposed.

“This disease is no joke in its unpredictability and severity, so please continue to keep your guard up and your loved ones protected,” he said.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up within weeks. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the virus causes severe illness and can be fatal.

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