Officials in San Antonio, Texas, were furious with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday after the agency ‘mistakenly’ released a patient who had been quarantined for having contracted the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19).
Mayor Ron Nirenberg, in declaring a health emergency, blasted the agency for its negligence, calling it “unacceptable” and vowing to hold officials “accountable.”
“We will hold the CDC accountable to providing complete transparency for the public,” Nirenberg said in a statement a day earlier in a Facebook post.
According to the Austin-American Statesman, the mayor said that the patient had been quarantined and fully treated after contracting the virus. He also noted that after treatment the patient twice tested negative for the virus and thus was discharged from the Texas Center for Infectious Disease in San Antonio before a third test came back positive.
The patient — a woman, according to CNBC — “was among the 91 Americans evacuated from Wuhan and placed in federal, 14-day quarantine at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.”
The Statesman said that the patient has since been returned to the facility and will undergo additional monitoring and testing. And of course, it’s likely that anyone the patient came in contact with will also now have to be quarantined and monitored.
“The fact that the CDC allowed the public to be exposed to a patient with a positive COVID-19 reading is unacceptable,” Nirenberg said in a statement. “This incident is exactly why we have been asking for federal officials to accept the guidance of our local medical community.”
In a separate statement, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said, “we will not experience the consequence of no action,” noting further that letters sent to the CDC raising new concerns about monitoring of suspected coronavirus patients and their quarantine procedures have thus far gone unanswered.
The San Antonio declaration comes following a similar designation by Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee (D) after a man died from the virus, becoming the first in the nation to perish from the outbreak. The male victim was in his 50s and did have underlying health problems, but thus far health officials have determined he did had no history of travel or contact with anyone else who is known to have had the virus.
The San Antonio Express-News noted further that Nirenberg’s emergency declaration also orders all evacuees currently under quarantine to remain there for the time being.
Mayor Nirenberg has declared that those who have been quarantined at Lackland will not be able to ingress into and travel through the City of San Antonio. Previously quarantined people will also not be allowed to enter San Antonio until further notice.
The state of disaster and public health emergency will last seven days unless continued or renewed by the San Antonio City Council.
One of the big mysteries about the coronavirus has been its ability to re-infect patients who contract it once. The re-infection rate is only about 14 percent or so, according to a report by Natural News, but that is still significant enough to cause health officials on the local and national level some problems, obviously.
It should be noted that the imposition of a state of emergency is no small thing, whether it’s done on a national level or on a state or local level. Not only do such declarations provide governing officials with extra powers, but such declarations inevitably a) cause people some extra jitters; b) cost communities extra funds that could have been put to use elsewhere; and c) can impinge on freedoms.
It’s unclear how long the San Antonio emergency declaration will last or others that are being imposed at various locations around the country. But what is clear is that the virus is becoming a bigger problem by the day.