A Tarrant County state representative who has been openly critical of mask mandates is recovering after ending up in the emergency room with COVID-19.
State Rep. Tony Tinderholt, who represents Dist. 94 in Arlington, Dalworthington Gardens and Pantego celebrated his 50th birthday resting at home and doing breathing exercises.
“I’m feeling much better but it was a slow recovery,” he said during an interview Thursday. “It was pretty bad a few weeks ago but I’m doing much better now. My amazing wife has taken care of the household and the family.”
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The Republican lawmaker and military veteran ended up in the emergency room almost a month ago barely able to walk and breathe.
Tinderholt said he, his wife and young children were being cautious amid the pandemic. They wore face masks and cut down on going out, but all ended up contracting the virus.
While his wife and kids experienced mild symptoms, his body aches worsened as did his oxygen levels.
“I started feeling a little sore, achy,” he said. “Two days after that, I almost couldn’t walk.”
While still experiencing coughs and shortness of breath, Tinderholt credits Dr. Brian Procter in McKinney for his improving health.
He urges Texans to take the virus seriously so the state can fully reopen.
However, even after contracting the virus, he continues to oppose mask mandates.
“I think wearing masks is a smart idea. I just don’t like big government mandates,” he said. “We have to reopen the economy and we’re going to have to deal with a huge budget shortfall.”
Tinderholt said focus beyond his recovery will be on the upcoming legislative session and fully funding education.
When it comes to children returning to class, Tinderholt said he supports parents’ right to chose in-person instruction or virtual learning.
*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.
**County totals below include all 32 North Texas counties, not just Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant.