State lawmaker ill with COVID in El Salvador now in Florida

<p><p>Associated Press</p></p><p><p>BELLINGHAM – 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.</p></p><p><p>Luanne Van Werven, who served with Ericksen in the Legislature from 2014 to 2020, <a href=”https://www.bellinghamherald.com/news/coronavirus/article255945112.html#storylink=cpy”>told</a> the Bellingham Herald Friday that Ericksen is definitely on the road to recovery.</p></p><p><p>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.</p></p><p><p>“It was obviously serious when he was back in El Salvador, but he’s definitely on the mend,” Van Werven, of Lynden, told the Bellingham newspaper, saying the senator was in a hospital in Fort Lauderdale.</p></p><p><p>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.</p></p><p><p>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.</p></p><p><p>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.</p></p><p><p>Ericksen 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.</p></p><p><p>Ericksen has opposed vaccine mandates and pushed the state to ease many measures enacted to fight the coronavirus pandemic.</p></p><p><p>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.</p></p><p><p>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.</p></p>