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Rep. David Byrd Still On Ventilator With ‘A Long And Tough Road,’ Says Family Member

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Rep. David Byrd is unable to talk and receiving physical therapy after being on a ventilator for nearly a month, according to a family member who posted on Facebook on Wednesday.

The Republican state lawmaker from Waynesboro was hospitalized in December and went on a ventilator later in the month. He has stopped giving public updates on social media, but WPLN News obtained an update written by his sister, Brenda Byrd McWilliams.

“His body [is] so weak…he can’t do anything without assistance,” she wrote. “As I’ve said before…David has a long and tough road ahead of him. He isn’t even aware that several of his friends, family and constituents are going through the same thing he is.”

She said Byrd is “giving all he has to get well.”

Byrd has served in the state legislature since 2014. His colleagues are reconvening next week, and legislative leaders have made some changes to address the global pandemic that is surging in Tennessee, like expanding some Plexiglas barriers around desks. But it has not yet implemented a mask mandate for the dozens of lawmakers and others who come to the state Capitol to do business.

The Associated Press has reported that, nationwide, about 250 state lawmakers have had the virus and at least seven have died.

The Tennessee House Republican Caucus says it can’t comment on a member’s health.

Emily Siner is an enterprise reporter at WPLN. She has worked at the Los Angeles Times and NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., and her written work was recently published in Slices Of Life, an anthology of literary feature writing. Born and raised in the Chicago area, she is a graduate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
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