Congressman-elect Luke Letlow dies of coronavirus at age 41

Luke Letlow

A newly-elected Republican Congressman from Louisiana became one of the highest-ranked politician to die from Covid-19 related complications on Tuesday even as officials in Colorado reported the first known case in the U.S. of a person infected with the coronavirus variant that first surfaced in Britain.

Letlow, who was 41-years-old, had been in the ICU since December 23.

A newly elected United States congressman, Luke Letlow, has died shortly after testing positive for COVID-19.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards ordered the state's flags to stand at half-staff on the day of Letlow's funeral, which has yet to be announced.

WBRZ reports: "Letlow, hospitalized for COVID-19, passed away Tuesday, Dec. 29, only days before he would have been sworn into office". A day later, he was admitted to a hospital in Monroe, and four days after that he was moved into the Intensive Care Unit at a hospital in Shreveport.

Letlow leaves behind his wife, Bernhill Letlow, and their two children.

USA hospitals are bracing for a surge in cases after the holidays with some health officials fearing the darkest days of the pandemic are still ahead.

"I first met Luke when he was still a college student, and spent countless hours with him in his truck driving the back roads of Louisiana", Jindal said.

He was set to be sworn in on Sunday.

Doctors reportedly gave Letlow the antiviral drug Remdesivir and steroids as part of his treatment, and told local media that the politician did not have any underlying health conditions that would placed him at greater risk to the virus.

Letlow won his congressional seat convincingly, taking 62 percent in a runoff election against fellow Republican Rep. Lance Harris.

That message was echoed by New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, a Democrat, who said in a tweet, "We are heartbroken to learn of the passing of Congressman-elect Luke Letlow".

© Melinda Deslatte/AP FILE - In this July 22, 2020 file photo, Luke Letlow, R-Start, chief of staff to exiting U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham, speaks after signing up to run for Louisiana's 5th Congressional District in Baton Rouge, La. "I spoke with his wife, Julia".

Dozens of lawmakers, as well as White House staff, including. the president and first lady, have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began.