Bexar County Residents Who Visited China Quarantine Themselves As Lackland Monitors Evacuees | Texas Public Radio

Bexar County Residents Who Visited China Quarantine Themselves As Lackland Monitors Evacuees

Feb 10, 2020

Several Bexar County residents who’ve recently been to China are quarantining themselves for two weeks.

San Antonio Metro Health Director Dawn Emerick said the city is actively monitoring the residents for symptoms of novel coronavirus.

The individuals are monitoring their temperatures, checking for symptoms and reporting to Metro Health twice daily.

Metro Health also confirmed that it received novel coronavirus testing kits from the Centers for Disease Control.

On Friday, CDC Capt. Jennifer McQuiston said that it takes some time for local labs to use the kits.

“They actually have to validate the tests in their own laboratory with the personnel who will be using it," she said, "and that can take a little while.”

The health department said in a statement over the weekend that the kits would not be fully operational for two weeks. The CDC will have to confirm the local department’s results.

On Monday, more than 90 American evacuees from China remained quarantined at a hotel at Lackland Air Force Base, one of five bases around the U.S. housing evacuees and monitoring them for symptoms. They arrived on Friday.

Residents may make donations for the evacuees via the Red Cross.

Also, San Antonio Congressman Will Hurd visited the quarantined Americans at Lackland over the weekend.

"This quarantine is an unprecedented step," he said. "[It] hasn't been done in 60 years. Last time it was done [was] during small pox, and so this is an extraordinary measure to have been taken in order to protect public safety."

Metro Health said the risk posed to people in Bexar County from this new virus remains low. There have been no confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Texas. There have been 12 confirmed cases in the United States.

Lauren Terrazas can be reached at Lauren@TPR.org and on Twitter at @terrazas_lauren.
Bonnie Petrie can be reached at Bonnie@TPR.org and on Twitter at @kbonniepetrie.
Dan Katz can be reached at Dan@TPR.org and on Twitter at @dankatzradio.