State lawmaker ill with COVID in El Salvador now in Florida
BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — State Sen. Doug Ericksen of Ferndale who was sickened with COVID-19 in El Salvador is now in stable condition at a Florida hospital after a medevac flight, according to a former state lawmaker.
Luanne Van Werven, who served with Ericksen in the Legislature from 2014 to 2020, told The Bellingham Herald Friday that Ericksen is definitely on the road to recovery.
Ericksen, a Republican who represents the 42nd District in Whatcom County, wrote to his legislative colleagues last week that he tested positive for COVID-19 in El Salvador and needed monoclonal antibodies, the same Regeneron treatment that former President Trump received in 2020.
“It was obviously serious when he was back in El Salvador, but he’s definitely on the mend,” Van Werven, of Lynden, told the newspaper, saying he was in a hospital in Fort Lauderdale.
Van Werven said she texted with Ericksen and spoke to his wife, Tasha Ericksen, by phone this week and that the family had given her permission to share his condition.
She said Ericksen wished he could be home in northern Whatcom County, where large parts of his district were inundated by severe flooding this week.
Ericksen hasn’t responded to text messages from The Herald. It wasn’t known if he is vaccinated against COVID-19 or why he was visiting El Salvador.
He missed more votes than any other state lawmaker during this year’s legislative session, with some absences from legislative action happening while he was observing elections in El Salvador.
Ericksen has opposed vaccine mandates and pushed the state to ease many measures enacted to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Because of pandemic-related travel restrictions, Ericksen likely would have been unable to take a commercial flight out of El Salvador after testing positive for COVID-19.
El Salvador has a high rate of COVID spread, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends against travel to the country unless fully vaccinated.