State senator dies a month after telling local radio station he was sick with Covid-19 while in El Salvador

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By Kay Jones, CNN

A Washington state senator has died a month after confirming to a local radio station that he was in El Salvador and sick with Covid-19.

State Sen. Doug Ericksen’s family announced his death through a statement released Saturday by the Washington State Senate Republican Caucus, but they did not state the cause of his death.

“We are heartbroken to share that our husband and father passed away on Friday, December 17. Please keep our family in your prayers and thank you for continuing to respect our privacy during this extremely difficult time,” the statement read.

Ericksen represented Whatcom County’s 42nd District, from Bellingham to the Canadian border, according to his website. He was elected to the Senate in 2010 after serving six terms in the State House, he said.

ericsen told KIRO Radio in November, he contracted the virus while in El Salvador. The station’s news director said in a tweet that Ericksen told them he couldn’t leave the country and there was no monoclonal antibody treatment available.

In an email sent to Washington state lawmakers on Nov. 11, Ericksen said he “took a trip to El Salvador and tested positive for COVID shortly after (his) arrival,” and had asked for help getting the treatment flown home to help with his recovery, according to the Seattle Times, which said it obtained the email from a state Senate staffer.

Ericksen had repeatedly called for the resignation of Democratic Governor Jay Inslee, in numerous articles on his website. Its latest press release, dated Nov. 1, said the state was the “national leader of an authoritarian government.”

“Throughout this COVID situation, Inslee has been out of step with the rest of the country,” Ericksen said in the statement. “He says his act of revenge was based on science, but it’s certainly not the science understood by public health officials and elected leaders in every other state in the Union.”

Inslee released a statement Saturday in response to the news of Ericksen’s death, saying he and his wife send “our sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Senator Doug Ericksen.” Our hearts are with them.

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