Sierra, in Hopkins ICU, becomes fourth state lawmaker hit by COVID-19

Olivia Munson & Concettina Giuliano

Cronkite News

Arizona Rep. Lorenzo Sierra, D-Avondale, was being
treated in the intensive care unit of Johns Hopkins Hospital in
Baltimore Monday for “complications related to COVID-19,” one day after
being hospitalized with the virus in Washington.

Sierra and his wife, Rhonda Cagle, both began showing symptoms of the
disease while visiting family in Washington last week, according to a
statement from Arizona House Democrats. Cagle is reportedly recovering
with family in Washington.

He becomes at least the fourth Arizona lawmaker to test positive for the coronavirus, after state Sen. Lupe Contreras, D-Avondale, in April, state Rep. Joanne Osborne, R-Goodyear, in July and U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva in August.

Sierra’s transfer to Hopkins comes the same day that President Donald
Trump was released from Walter Reed Military Medical Center, where he
spent three days after testing positive for COVID-19 late Thursday.
Before his release Monday, Trump tweeted that he was “feeling really good. Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life.”

But Arizona Democrats said the recent cases should be taken as a
reminder that people need to be aware that COVID-19 is still a threat.

“Rhonda and I urge everyone to wear masks when in public, practice
physical distancing, and frequent handwashing and sanitizing to remain
as safe as possible,” Sierra tweeted Sept. 29, after the couple came down with symptoms but before his hospitalization.

He tweeted at the time that, “We are both in good spirits and
continue to isolate while waiting 14 days until we can return home.”

The statement from Arizona House Democrats said Cagle and Sierra had
tested negative for the virus before traveling to Washington but,
“despite taking extensive precautions at all times, they somehow became

The statement did not say which Washington hospital Sierra checked
into Sunday, nor did it indicate why he was transferred to Hopkins on
Monday. Officials at Hopkins declined to comment.

Sierra’s diagnosis sparked an outpouring of support and well-wishes.

“We’re going to keep democracy warm until you get home, Zo. We love
you. Heal quick,” said state Rep. Jennifer Longdon, D-Phoenix, in a

In Washington, Senate leaders on Monday announced a two-week pause
in floor activity after three senators said last week that they had
tested positive for the coronavirus. All three had been at a Sept. 26
White House ceremony to present Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.

In Phoenix, a spokesman for the House Republican Caucus said
legislators “are and will continue to follow all CDC (Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention) and local/state guidance” on how to
operate in the face of COVID-19. He said more details will be announced
as the next legislative session nears in January, but Longdon said she
does not expect it will be business as usual.

“My expectations are that we will use the very best guidance from the
CDC and Arizona public health officials to ensure we are doing the
business of the people of Arizona with as much transparency and
interaction as is safe for the public,” she said.

The statement from House Democrats said Sierra’s family had asked for
“privacy during this difficult time.” But Cagle did take to Twitter to
ask for prayers.

“Please pray for my husband. He is a fighter and we are praying for his quick and full recovery,” Cagle tweeted.

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