State Rep. Lorenzo Sierra (D - AZ LD-19) and his wife, Rhonda Cagle, returned to the Valley on Sunday after contracting COVID-19 during a trip to visit their daughter in Washington, D.C.
“I still have some numbness in my legs but everything’s feeling really good,” Sierra told ABC15 just before the couple boarded their flight. “We’re just excited to get home today.”
Sierra said the couple traveled to D.C. in mid-September for what was supposed to be a 10-day trip. Toward the end of the visit, Sierra, Cagle and their daughter started feeling ill, he said. Cagle was hospitalized for 10-hours after testing positive for COVID-19. A week later, Sierra was taken to the emergency room as well.
“When I first got in, they were telling my family to plan for the long haul,” he said. Sierra was on a ventilator and unconscious for four days of his more than weeklong stay. Doctors told family members — who were not allowed to visit his hospital room — Sierra had a one-in-three chance of surviving.
“To not be able to be with Lorenzo was heartbreaking, quite frankly,” Cagle said.
On October 14, Sierra was released and doctors cleared the couple to fly home this weekend. “[The doctors] were all shocked that I came out of it as quickly as I did,” he said.
They hope their experience will serve as a lesson to those still doubting the potential consequences of the virus.
“It’s time to think beyond ourselves. It’s time to start thinking about others,” he said. “This is one of those times where we need to step up as Americans, who do the right thing every time we’re faced with a challenge.”