Washington state senator missing for a month after reporting he had COVID

Republican legislator Doug Erickson told colleagues he contracted COVID-19 during a trip to El Salvador last month.
Illustration of coronaviruses
Illustration of coronaviruses

A Washington state Republican legislator who told colleagues he contracted COVID-19 during a trip to El Salvador last month has not been heard from since.

He did not return a request for a confirmation from The Center Square Monday that he is still alive.

Sen. Doug Ericksen, 52, said on KIRO News in November that he fell ill while in the Central American country.

A Nov. 11 email Ericksen sent to fellow Republicans in the Legislature that was obtained by the Seattle Times said he was dealing with a “bad bout” of the virus and had tested positive shortly after arriving.

“I cannot get back home, and it’s to the point that I feel it would be beneficial for me to receive an iv of monoclonal antibodies (Regeneron),” he wrote. “I have a doctor who can administer the iv, but the product is not available here.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last month issued an emergency authorization for the use of monoclonal antibodies for people who test positive for the coronavirus.

According to the FDA, monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight of viruses. Clinical trials showed by reduced hospitalizations and emergency room visits who were at a high risk for progression of the disease, but are not approved for use on patients already in the hospital.”

Ericksen has introduced legislation aimed at preventing what he calls “vaccination discrimination.”

“Whether you get a vaccination is one of the most personal decisions you can make,” he said in a May press release. “This isn’t a matter of being pro-vaccine or anti-vaccine. We should respect the right of people to make decisions for themselves. Government has no business trying to coerce people by forcing third parties to check vaccination status at the door, and possibly turning away those who have not gotten shots.”

A week after Ericksen’s email, he reportedly flew to Florida and checked into a hospital.

“I really don’t have any information,” a member of Ericksen’s staff told the Bellingham Herald last week. “It’s all going through the family now.”

Ericksen, from Whatcom County, is in his third term as state senator, having previously served six terms as a state representative.

According to a report from Washington Votes, Ericksen missed 53 votes during the 105-day 2021 legislative session while he was acting as an election observer in El Salvador. That was the second most missed votes among all state lawmakers.