Coronavirus evacuees to be released from San Antonio quarantine Tuesday

Texas Tribune

Local officials said only people who have been symptom-free for 14 days will be released from Lackland Air Force Base.

FILE – This Feb. 2, 2020, file photo provided by the Department of Defense shows empty lodging facilities at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. The Department of Defense says it is providing temporary lodging support for up to 1,000 passengers being evacuated from China to the U.S. in response to the coronavirus outbreak there. The virus outbreak that began in China and has spread to more than 20 countries is stretching already-strained public health systems in Asia and beyond, raising questions over whether everyone can get equal access to treatment. (Todd Holly/U.S. Air Force via AP, File)

Coronavirus evacuees to be released from San Antonio quarantine Tuesday” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

More than 120 people being quarantined at Lackland Air Force Base will be released Tuesday, more than two weeks after they evacuated a cruise ship where the new coronavirus was spreading.

The group’s mandatory 14-day quarantine ended Monday, but the evacuees’ release was delayed after the city of San Antonio sued the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, demanding more rigorous testing before they were released. The lawsuit came after the CDC allowed a patient to leave, only to later receive a test result that was “weakly positive” for the virus. The city’s injunction against the CDC was quickly shot down by a federal judge.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg declared a public health emergency on Monday and banned previously quarantined individuals from stepping foot in the city of San Antonio, a measure he is allowed to take under state law.

While the CDC isn’t implementing the additional testing Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff called for, it is limiting release from quarantine to “only individuals who have been symptom-free for the full 14-day quarantine period,” according to a news release from the city.

“I’m pleased that the CDC has made changes, and I’m comfortable that the plan as presented will minimize the risk of exposure,” Nirenberg said. “The release will be coordinated, not prolonged over several days, and passengers will not stay in local hotels and will go directly to the airport.”

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2020/03/03/san-antonio-coronavirus-evacuees-be-released-quarantine-tuesday/.

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