‘I have the coronavirus,’ says W.Va. Delegate Staggers, an emergency room physician

A West Virginia delegate who works in hospitals has been diagnosed with the coronavirus.

Margaret Staggers

Delegate Margaret Staggers, D-Fayette, publicly posted on her Facebook page this week that she developed a strange cough and got a rapid test because she was supposed to go to work.

“I have the Corona virus,” she wrote on social media.

“So far so good but I appreciate prayers and positive vibes my way. I have been so careful. Now everyone who knows me knows someone who has the virus. Please stay safe and be careful.”

Staggers is an emergency room physician at Beckley Appalachian Regional Hospital, which is one reason she had particular concern. The hospital has been affected by community spread in the area.

Besides her emergency room job, Staggers is also medical director of several emergency medical services and emergency operations centers in Fayette, Wyoming, Raleigh and Boone counties.

Today Staggers wrote that her symptoms are more acute, a few days in.

“I am sleeping a lot, still weird cough, aching bad but usual non-narcotic pain meds relieve enough,” Staggers wrote.

“Cough has not moved from my upper bronchus, some chills and sweats.”

Staggers was among members of the House Health and Human Resources Committee who gathered last month for an informational meeting about the state’s coronavirus response.

There is no reason to believe Staggers developed coronavirus from attending the July 13 meeting, but a member of the House Clerk’s staff who attended did test positive shortly after that.

Staggers, who wore a mask to the meeting, spoke up to describe other precautions too, urging those who attended to change their clothes afterwards.

Staggers was first elected to the Legislature in 2006 and served until 2014. She was elected to the House again in 2018. She is the oldest daughter of former U.S. Representative Harley Staggers, who served in Congress from 1948 to 1981.

Today, leaders of the House of Delegates expressed desire for Staggers to recover quickly.

“Obviously we are very concerned about the health of Delegate Staggers given what appears to be her positive test for COVID-19,” stated Minority Leader Tim Miley, D-Harrison.

“While her colleagues and I will be praying for her recovery, this simply underscores the danger that health care professionals and first responders confront every day with this pandemic. We must remain vigilant about keeping West V”irginians safe from this disease.”

House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, also wished Staggers well.

“Delegate Staggers has been a dedicated worker on the frontlines of this pandemic,” Hanshaw stated, and we’ll be praying for a complete and speedy recovery.”

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