San Antonio mayor declares local public health emergency over coronavirus

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The city of San Antonio, Texas, announced a local state of disaster and public health emergency Monday after a patient who tested “weakly positive” for the coronavirus following their release from quarantine visited a local mall before being re-quarantined.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg (I) signed a proclamation barring a group of evacuees from China, including the person who left quarantine, from traveling in or through the city. The state of disaster is set to last no longer than seven days, but the barring of the evacuees is effective until further notice, Nirenberg said, according to local reports.

The evacuee in question was out and about for just over 12 hours, Anita Kurian, assistant director of the Metropolitan Health District, told MySanAntonio, saying they checked into a Holiday Inn near the airport, taking a shuttle to the North Star Mall, where they spent much of their time eating at the food court.

“We are making every effort to identify any exposures at the mall and based on what we have at this time, those exposures are pretty low risk,” Kurian reportedly said.

The Metropolitan Health District has thus far identified 18 people at the Texas Center for Infectious Disease for potential exposure, as well as three people at the hotel, all of whom are considered low risk except for two health workers who are “medium risk.”

The patient was reportedly the only one of the initial 91 Wuhan evacuees to test positive for the coronavirus.

“At the time of discharge from the facility, the patient was asymptomatic and met all of CDC’s criteria for release — resolution of any symptoms and two consecutive sets of negative test results, collected more than 24 hours apart,” officials for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Sunday, MySanAntonio reported.

“Following the patient’s release, results of a subsequent sample were received and determined to be weakly positive. Out of an abundance of caution, CDC decided to bring the individual back into isolation at a local medical facility,” the CDC added.

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