Mayor Michelle De La Isla was septic and spent 4 days hospitalized after getting a pacemaker for COVID-19 damage

Tim Hrenchir
Topeka Capital-Journal
Mayor Michelle De La Isla emphasizes the importance of getting vaccinated to slow the spread of COVID-19 on Tuesday during her monthly news conference with city manager Brent Trout.

Topeka Mayor Michelle De La Isla became septic and spent four days hospitalized last week, she said Tuesday.

The sepsis diagnosis came eight days after the mayor had a pacemaker put in Aug. 16 to deal with heart damage caused by COVID-19 earlier this year. Sepsis occurs when the body's response to infection causes injury to its own tissues and organs.

"I'm happy to be here," the mayor said when asked if her condition had been potentially life-threatening.

De La Isla discussed the topic during her monthly news conference with city manager Brent Trout.

"I'm talking to you from personal experience," she said. "You don't want this. You don't want your kids to get this."

De La Isla stressed  the importance of hand washing, practicing social distancing, wearing masks and getting vaccinated to slow the spread of COVID-19.

"I just came back from having a pacemaker put into my body and then on top of that I had to go back to the darned hospital the Tuesday after because I got sick again, and spent four more days at the hospital," De La Isla said. "I don't want that for you."

'COVID is no joke': Topeka mayor needs a pacemaker to deal with heart damage from COVID-19

The mayor tested positive for COVID-19 in January, after apparently being exposed to it through a family member who was an essential worker. 

De La Isla said she had followed best practices by wearing her mask, maintaining social distancing and working from home.

Topeka Mayor Michelle De La Isla, left, and city manager Brent Trout spoke Tuesday during their monthly  news conference at the Law Enforcement Center, 320 S. Kansas Ave.

Things currently are "not looking good in our community" in terms of the spread of COVID-19's delta variant, De La Isla said.

The number of people with COVID here is increasing while the resources it has available to deal with the disease are starting to dwindle, she said.

"You don't want to be in the same hospital bed that I was, completely alone without having access to anybody to be there to comfort you," De La Isla said. "You don't want to have to have parts of your body taken out or or things added to you because of this." 

Also during Tuesday's news conference, Trout said he anticipated the city's mayor and council at their meeting next week would adopt a 2022 city budget that keeps the city's property tax mill levy at its current level.