Arizona lawmaker off ventilator amid coronavirus fight

FILE - This May 23, 2019, file photo shows Democratic Rep. Lorenzo Sierra of Avondale during a budget conference in Phoenix. The Arizona lawmaker has been intubated and admitted to the intensive care unit at Johns Hopkins Hospital for treatment of COVID-19, legislative officials announced Monday, Oct. 5, 2020. Sierra was visiting family in Washington when he and his wife fell ill.(AP Photo/Bob Christie, File)

PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona lawmaker has been intubated and admitted to the intensive care unit at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore for treatment of COVID-19, legislative officials announced Monday.

Democratic Rep. Lorenzo Sierra of Avondale was visiting family in Washington when he and his wife fell ill. Sierra went to a Washington hospital on Sunday and was transferred to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore on Monday.

His wife, Rhonda Cagle, is recovering in isolation with relatives in Washington, according to House Democratic caucus officials. Cagle and Sierra tested negative before leaving for Washington and took extensive precautions but still got sick, Cagle wrote on Facebook.

“Please pray for my husband,” Cagle wrote. “He is a fighter and is determined to beat this terrible disease, but he needs the prayers of all of us to recover.”

Most people experience mild or moderate symptoms with the coronavirus, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

Sierra is the third Arizona lawmaker to be diagnosed with COVID-19. Sen. Lupe Contreras and Rep. JoAnne Osborne revealed their infections earlier in the year. More than 120 state lawmakers nationwide have tested positive for the disease and three have died, according to a tally by The Associated Press.

“Arizona’s prayers are with Representative Sierra and his wife, Rhonda, as they battle COVID-19,” Gov. Doug Ducey wrote on Twitter. “We are thinking of them and their entire family.”

Arizona reported 316 new cases of the coronavirus Monday and one death. That brings the state’s total number of known cases to 221,070. The death toll is 5,707.

University of Arizona President Robert Robbins said the school will continue holding most classes online this week but plans to resume in-person instruction for classes with 30 or fewer students next week unless coronavirus cases rise. The school pulled back on in-person classes several weeks ago amid a spike in cases.

Robbins said the numbers are improving but he was disappointed to learn of an off-campus party with more than 100 people on Friday. Large parties will likely delay the return to face-to-face classes, he said.

“This is irresponsible and reckless, and we’ve got to stop this,” Robbins said of parties. “This is where the spread of the virus is occurring.”

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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