Big Mike Fesi 052720

State Sen. Big Mike Fesi, R-Houma, presented legislation to a House committee Wednesday, May 27, 2020, that would retroactively dismiss environmental lawsuits parishes have filed against oil and gas companies over damages to the state's wetlands.

Louisiana state Sen. Mike Fesi said Monday that he has been infected with COVID-19.

In a text, Fesi, R-Houma, said he is “feeling good overall but just kinda ache all over.”

Fesi, 61, said he tested positive late Thursday after spending that morning, Wednesday and Tuesday at the State Capitol. He stayed away from the Capitol on Monday when he didn’t feel well. After testing negative for the virus that day, he returned to work on Tuesday but then felt unwell again on Thursday, and tested positive.

“Hopefully I will get through with no complications,” Fesi said, adding that he is taking ivermectin and to combat the virus “and just completed my Z Pak (Zithromax).”

The FDA said last month that ivermectin has not been approved for use by humans against COVID.

"FDA is concerned about the health of consumers who may self-medicate by taking ivermectin products intended for animals," the agency wrote.

People in the Capitol were wondering whether Fesi might have infected one of his colleagues, staff members or anyone else who came into close contact with him.

Two senators said privately that they wished Fesi had been vaccinated.

Fesi said he doesn’t regret not getting vaccinated. He said in a text Monday that he believes “the right medication can get you through it like many other illnesses we do not get vaccinated for.”

Fesi, who was first elected in 2019 and has been a reliable conservative vote, was not among the 68% of legislators who told The Advocate | The Times-Picayune they had been vaccinated as of April 18, according to a survey of lawmakers.

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In that article, Fesi claimed that a family friend died from the vaccine, a comment that raised eyebrows after a spokesperson for the Louisiana Department of Health said state officials had not confirmed any deaths from vaccines administered in Louisiana.

Most Louisiana lawmakers have gotten a COVID-19 vaccine; see who has, hasn't

Republican legislators – and Republicans overall, according to public opinion surveys – have been less likely to be vaccinated.

Fesi tested positive two days after Gov. John Bel Edwards lifted the statewide mask mandate because of rising vaccination rates and the low amount of COVID circulating in the state. On Monday, most people inside the Capitol were not wearing a mask.

Louisiana lifts statewide mask mandate; schools, hospitals, local governments can still require

The Louisiana Department of Health is still requiring masks at K-12 schools, early childhood education centers, colleges and universities, hospitals, nursing homes, on public transit and at some state government buildings.

In Louisiana, 32.2% of the population has received at least one dose, a rate that ranks 49th in the country, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

State Rep. Reggie Bagala, R-Lockport, died from COVID last year, as did former state Rep. Steve Carter, R-Baton Rouge, and Congressman-elect Luke Letlow, a Republican from northeast Louisiana.

A number of lawmakers of both parties have been infected with the virus but recovered.

Capital News Bureau reporter Sam Karlin contributed to this article.


Email Tyler Bridges at tbridges@theadvocate.com.