Ray Rodrigues hospitalized with COVID-19
Sen. Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero. (Photo by Phil Sears)

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He was tested for the disease 10 days ago.

Sen. Ray Rodrigues has been hospitalized nine days after learning he tested positive for COVID-19.

The Estero Republican, who was excused from a Tuesday ceremony swearing him into the Senate, was admitted to the hospital on Monday night, confirmed spokesperson Erin Isaac. He took a test on Nov. 7 before a routine medical procedure, and the following day learned of the diagnosis and began self-isolating.

At that point, Rodrigues was asymptomatic. WINK News reports that changed after about five days, and that he began suffering from a variety of symptoms.

Sources tell Florida Politics that Rodrigues is feeling improved after less than a day in the hospital’s care. He has been treated with Remdesivir. The Food and Drug Administration approved the drug as a treatment for COVID-19, and the New England Journal of Medicine in October published a report showing the treatment reduced hospitalization times for patients with less severe illness.

Rodrigues, who just wrapped an eight-year stint in the Florida House, won election to the Senate after defeating fellow state Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen in an August primary and Democrat Rachel Brown in the General Election.

He previously served as Majority Leader in the House from 2016 to 2018. He served as Health and Human Services Committee chair during his last two years in the Florida House.

Just Monday evening, as Rodrigues was admitted to the hospital, the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee issued a memo listing his primary victory as a top achievement for caucus leadership.

Senate President Wilton Simpson offered thoughts and prayers for Rodrigues’ recovery.

Notably, the House announced seven members were excused from the organizational session on Tuesday because they tested positive for COVID-19 or were in close contact with someone who tested positive. That included two other Lee County lawmakers, Adam Botana and Mike Giallombardo. Both Republicans attended an Election Night victory party with Rodrigues in Fort Myers several days before he tested positive.

Two other Representatives at the party, Spencer Roach and Jenna Persons, have tested negative.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


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