State Rep. LaWanna Shurtliff has ‘significantly’ improved since being hospitalized with pneumonia

The Democratic representative has tested negative for COVID-19.

Leah Hogsten | Tribune file photo) LaWanna "Lou" Shurtliff, a retired teacher, was hospitalized this week for an unknown health issue.

Democratic state Rep. LaWanna “Lou” Shurtliff, 85, remained in the intensive care unit at McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden on Thursday after she was admitted earlier this week for breathing problems.

Shurtliff, who has been diagnosed with pneumonia, continues to rely on a ventilator, said her granddaughter, Michelle Catts, in a statement from the family. But Catts said the state lawmaker has improved “significantly” since she was admitted on Tuesday and continues to test negative for COVID-19.

“Although they have not identified the cause of the pneumonia or her illness, we are thrilled that she is doing so well and are hopeful about her ongoing recovery,” Catts wrote. “Lou continues to fight this illness with the same tenacity she uses to fight for her family and community.”

The Utah House Democratic Caucus first announced Shurtliff’s hospitalization in a statement on Wednesday, saying that, “As our colleague and friend, we are obviously very concerned about her well-being. We wish her and her family a quick and full recovery.”

House Minority Leader Brian King, who had shared further details of Shurtliff’s condition on Twitter, also encouraged people to keep her “in your thoughts and prayers.”

Shurtliff is the only Democrat in the Legislature outside of Salt Lake County and recently won a second term in office in District 10, which covers parts of South Ogden and Washington Terrace. The retired high school teacher had previously served in the Legislature from 1999 to 2008.

House Speaker Brad Wilson offered Shurtliff and her family his “thoughts and prayers” on Twitter on Wednesday and said “the doctors and nurses at McKay-Dee Hospital are taking great care of her.”

“I am grateful for their efforts and wish Lou a full and speedy recovery,” he added.