Sen. Dallas Heard, R-Myrtle Creek, is back to work and voting “no” on everything after recovering from COVID-19.
He said he had a low intensity case and his worst symptom was mental fog.
Heard said his father and brother had symptoms a few days before he did. He first starting feeling bad on the April 23.
When his brother tested positive for the virus on April 26, Heard filed paperwork with the state.
“Since I had been around my dad a lot I decided to file the paperwork that I’d likely been exposed to someone with COVID and that I would be staying home for the required two weeks to make sure that I didn’t expose anyone else,” Heard said.
Before his brother received test results, Heard said he had thought maybe he had the flu.
“I feel physically awful all the time anyway because I work so much and people just attack me endlessly, and my life is a living nightmare,” he said.
He watched the committee meetings virtually, but said he had trouble staying awake.
He said his symptoms were relatively mild and lasted about 12 days.
In the end, the illness was partly a blessing.
“It gave me an opportunity to kind of rest,” he said.
His brother was hospitalized when he grew too weak to walk. His father had a terrible cough and they kept an eye on his oxygen levels, but both have recovered.
Heard said he returned to work on Monday.
“I just stayed away from everybody. I kept my mask on and stayed up in the gallery,” he said.
Heard said getting sick with COVID-19 hasn’t changed his views on how the pandemic should be handled.
He has been an outspoken critic of the governor’s COVID-19 safety mandates. He objected so strongly to the Legislature doing its business in a closed Capitol building that he removed his mask on the Senate floor in protest on Dec. 21.
Nevertheless, Heard said he wears masks at private gatherings where participants want him to.
“I was one of the first people to publicly call for people to wear masks, but I always stated it from the position of freedom of choice,” he said.
He said the governor and Democrats who hold the power in Salem have instead chosen “the fascist route,” of forcing others to do what they want.
“That’s evil, the end,” he said.
Heard said he continues to vote “no” on every bill in protest of the building being closed to the public.
He said everyone working in the building who wants to be vaccinated has been.
Heard himself has not been vaccinated.
He said that’s due to concern that there could be long term effects from the vaccine, as well as a desire to allow all the seniors who want the vaccine to get their chance before him.
Heard believes he’s fully or partially immune now that he’s had the illness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people get vaccinated even if they previously had COVID-19.
“I’ve gotten the virus, I’ve weathered it, and now I’m going to have antibodies that give me a robust level of immunity,” Heard said.