Cruz, Cornyn want answers on San Antonio COVID-19 patient’s release


FILE – This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Health officials hope to avoid stigma and error in naming the virus causing an international outbreak of respiratory illnesses. But some researchers say the current moniker, 2019 nCoV, which stands for 2019 novel coronavirus, probably won’t stick in the public’s mind. (CDC via AP, File)

SAN ANTONIO (KXAN) — On Tuesday, U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn sent a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — asking for answers on why a person who had tested positive for the Wuhan coronavirus was allowed to be released from isolation.

On Sunday, the CDC released the patient — who they said tested “weakly positive” for a COVID-19 reading — who had been quarantined at Lackland Air Force base after returning from Wuhan, China.

It’s believed that the patient exposed the virus to at least 21 people after she left the base — 18 at a hospital and three more at a hotel. She also went to the city’s North Star Mall.

In their letter, Cruz and Cornyn, both Texas Republicans, wrote:

“We understand that COVID-19 is a new virus and we are still learning about the cycle of infection and diagnostic criteria. However, we are deeply concerned that CDC would allow an individual who had tested positive to reenter the community and risk wider public exposure. To this end, we have questions on how this incident occurred and how it can be avoided in the future.”

The patient’s release also resulted in San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg to declare a public health emergency on Monday.

The senators also followed up in a statement that they would continue to push for answers from the CDC and work closely with Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Texas health officials to “make sure more individuals do not become infected.”

Congressmen Joaquin Castro and Lloyd Doggett also echoed the sentiments of fellow Texas politicians calling for an investigation in to the CDC’s release protocols.

“The CDC has acted irresponsibly, failing to adequately prepare for—and respond to—the COVID-19 threat. In just their latest misstep, the CDC discharged into the San Antonio community a patient who tested positive for the virus. This is completely unacceptable,” Congressman Castro said.

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