Whatcom County lawmaker stuck in El Salvador with COVID, unable to get antibody drugs

State Sen. Doug Ericksen of Ferndale is sickened with COVID-19 in El Salvador and is unable to receive antibody drugs to treat it.

Ericksen, a Republican who represents the 42nd District in Whatcom County, has reached out to legislative colleagues for advice on how to receive monoclonal antibodies, which are unavailable in that Latin American nation, his spokesman Erik Smith told The Bellingham Herald on Friday.

In a message to members of the state House and Senate, Ericksen said he took a trip to El Salvador and tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after he arrived.

Smith said members of the senator’s staff have been unable to reach Ericksen directly.

"We have been unable to get ahold of Sen. Ericksen but we believe (the message) to be true," Smith said.

In his message to legislators, Ericksen said his condition was "to the point that I feel it would be beneficial for me to receive an IV or monoclonal antibodies (Regeneron). I have a doctor here who can administer the IV, but the product is not available here."

Former President Donald Trump was given Regeneron, which has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms, when he contracted the disease last year.

Ericksen missed more votes than any other state lawmaker during this year’s legislative session, with some of his absences from legislative action happening while he was observing elections in El Salvador.

At the time Ericksen said that trip was separate from consulting and lobbying work he does for the country of Cambodia. He registered as a foreign agent for his work for Cambodia in 2019, and the company he launched with former state Rep. Jay Rodne once had a $500,000 contract with the country’s government.

Reasons for his current visit weren’t clear.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people should be fully vaccinated before visiting El Salvador where the current levels of COVID-19 are "high."

Smith said he wasn’t sure if Ericksen has been vaccinated.

Ericksen has been vocal in his opposition to Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee’s requirement that thousands of workers in Washington prove they’ve been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or seek exemptions in order to keep their jobs and has called for Inslee’s resignation.

Ericksen’s 42nd District colleagues, state Rep. Alicia Rule, D-Blaine, and state Rep. Sharon Shewmake, D-Bellingham, expressed their concern in text messages to the newspaper.

"COVID-19 is not something you want anyone to get and I hope he makes a full recovery," Shewmake said.

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