Justice Debra Lehrmann of Texas Supreme Court. Justice Debra Lehrmann of Texas Supreme Court.

Texas Supreme Court Justice Debra Lehrmann and her husband have tested positive for COVID-19, Lehrmann announced Thursday in a tweet.

“We began to exhibit symptoms last week, despite diligently complying with stay-at-home rules,” she wrote.

Her diagnosis hasn’t impacted her work on the high court, she noted, since the court has been working remotely.

“We are grateful for your thoughts and prayers,” Lehrmann added.

Lehrmann did not sound or appear ill on Wednesday when she participated in a Zoom oral argument in an appeal over vote-by-mail ballots during the coronavirus crisis.

She participated in the argument by peppering both the attorneys for the state and county election administrators throughout the oral argument.

Lehrmann said that she, her husband, her son and daughter-in-law have all tested positive for the virus. Lehrmann added that she suspects her infant grandson also got it but has already recovered. The family got together for Mother’s Day, and began feeling sick the next day, May 11.

That day, she said her husband had night sweats in the early morning and his fever and chills started climbing once he was awake. He was able to get tested that day, and the results came back surprisingly quickly the following day. Lehrmann herself began feeling ill that afternoon, and was tested the following day. Her results took until last weekend to return.

“I think the thing that’s hardest about it is the concern about the unknown, because you read these stories about people who are fine, and then all of a sudden they start coughing up lung tissue,” she said. “It’s just worrying about that is the most concerning part of it, especially since my family has it.”

‘It can happen to anybody’

Lehrmann described her symptoms like having the flu: fever, fatigue, body aches and lethargy.

“We have not experienced any breathing issues thank goodness,” she said, noting they have been testing their blood-oxygen levels, which have been normal. “I would describe it as being like how you feel when you have the flu. The thing that is different is the worry. The thought of having to go into the hospital without any loved ones there and being hooked up to a ventilator. That’s a scary thought.”

Lehrmann’s doctor has told her that it takes at least 10 days to recover from the coronavirus but that she must track how she feels and be symptom-free for three days before being sure that the virus is gone. She is now on her 10th day of having the virus, and her husband is on his 11th day, she said. But they’ve both measured a fever this week, which means the infection is still there.

Lehrmann notified Chief Justice Nathan Hecht about her symptoms the day they first came up, she said. Lehrmann said despite her illness, she hasn’t taken time off of work. The court has been doing its work remotely since March anyway, and she said it’s nice to have something to get her mind off of the coronavirus.

“I just want to be able to get past this so we can hopefully get things back to normal as soon as possible,” she said, adding that she shared news of her diagnosis on Twitter because she thought it might help someone. “It’s not like it’s anything to hide. It can happen to anybody. We certainly were very careful.”


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