A Republican state senator from Minnesota who examined optimistic for the coronavirus final month has died, his spouse mentioned in a written assertion.
“I’m heartbroken to share that my husband, Jerry Relph, has handed away and entered his heavenly dwelling,” his spouse, Pegi Dealer-Relph, mentioned Friday. “Jerry devoted his life to service and representing Senate District 14 was one of many highest honors he had.”
Mr. Relph, 76, represented a area that features St. Cloud. He was a Marine Corps veteran who served in Vietnam and had labored as an legal professional and businessman.
“He liked serving the folks of St. Cloud within the Senate, and he cherished each minute of it,” she mentioned.
A number of state senators, together with Mr. Relph, examined optimistic for the virus after attending a caucus management assembly on Nov. 5 and a post-election celebration that night with greater than 100 folks current, local media outlets reported.
Mr. Relph started quarantining on Nov. 10, after being knowledgeable that he had been in shut contact with somebody who had the virus on the Senate, mentioned Rachel Aplikowski, the communications director for the Senate Republicans. He obtained optimistic check outcomes on Nov. 13, and went to the emergency room twice with signs however was not hospitalized, she mentioned.
His situation had worsened in current weeks, Minnesota Public Radio reported.
On social media, mates and colleagues poured out their condolences. “Covid-19 has claimed the lifetime of Sen. Jerry Relph. I’ll bear in mind him as a form man and devoted public servant,” Laurie Halverson, a member of the state House of Representatives, said on Twitter.
Tim Walz, the governor of Minnesota, called Mr. Relph’s passing “terrible news.” “Jerry lived his whole life in service to his neighborhood,” Mr. Walz wrote on Twitter.
In mid-November, Minnesota was announcing new single-day records of coronavirus cases, and daily new case reports in Minnesota had doubled in the time since Halloween, prompting the state well being division to warn residents that even small gatherings pose dangers of transmission.
Since then, new case numbers have declined. Over the previous week, there was a median of two,989 circumstances per day — a decrease of 52 percent from the average two weeks earlier, whereas deaths have risen 17 p.c.
Different state legislators have died from Covid, together with New Hampshire’s new Republican speaker of the Home of Representatives earlier this month. In North Dakota, David Dean Andahl, a Republican generally known as “Dakota Dave,” was elected posthumously to the state Home of Representatives after dying from the virus.