South Dakota Speaker of the House returns to work following lengthy battle with COVID-19

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — The Speaker of the South Dakota House returned to his Sioux Falls law practice Thursday for the first time since coming down with symptoms of COVID-19 more than two weeks ago. Steve Haugaard’s bout with the coronavirus included two trips to the ER and a fever of 105-degrees. The Republican legislative leader is looking forward to getting back on the job and the campaign trail.

Speaker of the House Steve Haugaard started feeling symptoms not long after attending the special session of the legislature on October 5th to vote on coronavirus funding.

“The next day, after I got back to the office here, it was about noon when I determined it was time for me to go home,” Haugaard said.

Haugaard believes he was exposed to COVID-19 before the special session. His fever only worsened as he battled the virus from home.

“It was just basically non-stop fever for nearly two-weeks that seemed to range anywhere from 100 to 105,” Haugaard said.

Dehydration brought Haugaard into the emergency room twice.

“My wife was real concerned about me so we went in and got some fluids and was discharged a few hours later and then about a week after that, same situation,” Haugaard said.

Haugaard says his fever finally broke late last week. And while he says he’s recovered, Haugaard lost 16-pounds and is still fatigued.

“Yesterday, I felt quite good, today’s a little bit slower,” Haugaard says.

Haugaard expects to steadily improve in the coming days and says his drawn-out fight with COVID-19 shows how the virus affects everyone differently.

“I was concerned that I’d end up in the hospital, but I certainly didn’t fear for my life. I’ve never had anything that lasted that long that was that intense,” Haugaard said.

Haugaard says for the time being, he’ll limit his campaigning for re-election to sending out mailers to voters.

His Democratic opponent, Michelle Hentschel says she’s hoping for a full recovery for Haugaard. She says South Dakota needs stronger leadership at the state level in dealing with the coronavirus.

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