Maria Elvira Salazar contracts COVID-19

Maria Elvira Salazar
She will miss Sunday's swearing-in ceremonies for 117th Congress.

Republican Rep.-elect Maria Elvira Salazar has COVID-19, is self-isolating, and will miss the congressional swearing-in ceremonies in Washington D.C. on Sunday.

Her office revealed Thursday that she was admitted to Doctors Hospital in Miami on Dec. 23 with heart arrhythmia and was diagnosed with COVID-19. She received treatment and was the released the next day.

She has been self-isolating at home and will do so for at least 14 days while she recovers, based on guidance from her doctors and medical professionals, her office said.

“I am incredibly thankful to the tireless front-line medical workers in our community, who help so many people combatting the COVID-19 pandemic. I am in quarantine at home and getting better each day,” she said in a news release. “I look forward to hitting the ground running for my community, once it is medically permissible.”

On Sunday, the 117th Congress will convene and members will be sworn in. Leadership votes will also be taken.

Salazar, of Miami, defeated Democratic incumbent Rep. Donna Shalala to flip Florida’s 27th Congressional District back to Republicans in November.

Sunday’s House session likely is to be tricky to attend for many members and Salazar likely will not be the only member missing it. Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to get reelected. But with the prospects of several absences, every vote will be pursued on both sides of the aisle. Members are expected to be ushered in and out of the chambers in small groups.

Among others, Salazar’s Florida Democratic colleague Rep. Alcee Hastings, has been undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer. He has indicated he would attend Sunday.

The release from her office said Salazar will resume her duties as soon as she is medically fit to do so.

Back in March, fellow Florida Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart became the first member of Congress to test positive for COVID-19. Since then, more than 50 members or member-elects have been confirmed with COVID-19, including Florida Republican Reps. Neal Dunn and Michael Waltz, while Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz is among those who have tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies. Rep.-elect Luke Letlow, a Louisiana Republican, died Tuesday from the disease after contracting it around the same time Salazar did.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].


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