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Sonya Bryson-Kirksey, battling COVID, moves out of ICU

The Lightning’s U.S. national anthem singer has spent the past two and a half weeks in the hospital.
Lightning U.S. national anthem singer Sonya Bryson-Kirksey, pictured in May, has been hospitalized since July 16 battling the coronavirus. Wednesday, she was moved out of the intensive care unit after her fever broke, according to close family friend Thomas Schooley.
Lightning U.S. national anthem singer Sonya Bryson-Kirksey, pictured in May, has been hospitalized since July 16 battling the coronavirus. Wednesday, she was moved out of the intensive care unit after her fever broke, according to close family friend Thomas Schooley. [ RACHEL WEST | Times ]
Published Aug. 4
Updated Aug. 4

TAMPA — Sonya Bryson-Kirksey took a step in the right direction Wednesday morning.

The Lightning’s U.S. national anthem singer, who has been hospitalized since July 16 battling the coronavirus, was moved out of the intensive care unit after her fever broke, according to close family friend Thomas Schooley.

A week after she was moved into the ICU, Bryson-Kirksey is back in a regular hospital room working on her breathing and lungs, Schooley told the Tampa Bay Times in a text message.

Bryson-Kirksey, 54, was hospitalized with COVID-19 pneumonia four days following the Lightning’s Stanley Cup boat parade.

The Lightning community has rallied around Bryson-Kirksey, setting up a GoFundMe account that has raised more than $18,500 and designing a T-shirt with proceeds going toward the fundraiser.

Bryson-Kirksey, who has been singing the U.S. national anthem before Lightning games at Amalie Arena for eight seasons, was fully vaccinated in March. But underlying health conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, made her more susceptible to the virus.

Soon after she was admitted to the hospital, encouraged others to get vaccinated.

“Implore people not to let their pride stand in the way of getting vaccinated,” she said, “to protect the people like me who really can’t fight for themselves.”

Florida on Saturday set a coronavirus daily case record, according to CDC data, with 21,683 new cases, the highest one-day total since the pandemic began. The state also leads the nation in kids hospitalized with the coronavirus.

Contact Mari Faiello at mfaiello@tampabay.com. Follow @faiello_mari.

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