A Wuhan evacuee was released from quarantine in Texas and later tested positive for the coronavirus

Vice President Pence says he knows there will be more coronavirus cases and more deaths are 'possible.'

Posted: Mar 2, 2020 1:41 PM
Updated: Mar 2, 2020 1:41 PM

A woman in San Antonio, Texas, who had previously tested negative twice for the coronavirus, and was released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is now back in quarantine after a subsequent test came back positive.

Calling it a federal "screw-up," San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg is requesting that Americans evacuated from the the Diamond Princess cruise ship to San Antonio, whose quarantine is scheduled to end Monday, continue to be held until retesting shows they're negative for the virus, he said.

In addition, San Antonio Metropolitan Health District director Dawn Emerick is asking that the CDC change its protocol to add a third consecutive negative test before releasing people into the community, she said.

The woman, who was evacuated from Wuhan, China, to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio on a flight chartered by the State Department, was released from the Texas Center for Infectious Disease on Saturday, according to San Antonio's mayor.

The patient was part of the original group of 91 people evacuated to San Antonio from Wuhan, Nirenberg said, expressing dismay that a patient was released into the community while her test results were pending.

"I find it totally unacceptable that CDC would release a patient prior to releasing all test results and potentially expose the public to this harm," he said. "Local health professionals, in whom I have the utmost confidence, are working very hard to prevent the spread of this virus here in San Antonio, and we simply cannot have a screw-up like this from our federal partners."

The patient was out in the community for about 12 hours and visited a hotel near the airport and then, from about 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, the North Star Mall, where she mostly sat by herself in the food court, said Dr. Anita Kurlan, assistant director with the Metropolitan Health District. The risk of exposure at both locations is deemed low, she said.

City health officials have requested a deep cleaning of the mall, she said. At the hospital, officials identified 16 people who were in contact with the patient after she was prematurely cleared, and two of them are considered at medium risk for exposure. The rest are considered low risk, Kurlan said.

The San Antonio case highlights concerns about testing procedures, including a flaw in test kits distributed by the CDC, a change in CDC criteria for diagnosing the virus and the limited number of labs able to perform testing.

Officials from San Antonio and Bexar County released a CDC statement that said the person had been in quarantine for several weeks and tested negative for coronavirus on at least two occasions.

The person was released after meeting the CDC's criteria for release, which includes resolution of any symptoms and two consecutive negative tests collected more than 24 hours apart.

"At the time of discharge from the facility, the patient was asymptomatic and met all of CDC's criteria for release," the CDC statement said.

Following her release, a subsequent sample showed a weak positive. She was taken back into isolation at a local medical facility, the statement said.

It's unclear why the additional test was performed. CNN's calls to the CDC have not been returned.

"The discharged patient had some contact with others while out of isolation, and CDC and local public health partners are following up to trace possible exposures and notify them of their potential risk," the statement said.

Local officials are concerned that the person's release could have exposed the community.

However, the individual is not showing any symptoms, according to the local officials.

"This has been our biggest concern and now we will experience the consequences of no action," Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said in the joint statement. "Time and time again, I have raised issues concerning evacuees, inappropriate accommodations, the risk of exposure during transporting and the need for additional monitoring and extended quarantine periods."

The woman released by the CDC was one of 11 presumptive positive cases her department is monitoring, Metropolitan Health District spokeswoman Michelle Vigil said. Nine of the patients were evacuated from a cruise ship, one person was evacuated from Wuhan, and another was transferred from quarantine in Miramar, California, Vigil told CNN in an email.

Diagnosing patients has been problematic. Early in the outbreak, the CDC issued guidance saying potential patients needed either to have traveled to China or to have been in close contact with someone who visited in China before being tested. New criteria were issued after a patient from Northern California contracted the illness, despite meeting neither prerequisite.

This came two weeks after several states reported that some CDC test kits weren't working properly, forcing the center to remake parts of the test. Health experts have also expressed concerns about a dearth of test kits.

The federal government is working to bolster its testing capabilities, mailing more than 15,000 test kits to local and state labs over the weekend, Vice President Mike Pence said. Also, where there was only one CDC facility that could test for the virus in the early weeks of the outbreak, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said last week there are now dozens of labs capable of doing the tests.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 768624

Reported Deaths: 13993
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1055891807
Lake569801031
Allen43032699
St. Joseph37344568
Hamilton37335426
Elkhart29783470
Tippecanoe23503230
Vanderburgh23240405
Porter19580327
Johnson18843392
Hendricks18089323
Madison13575347
Clark13552198
Vigo12869256
LaPorte12578225
Monroe12575178
Delaware11155198
Howard10693237
Kosciusko9792124
Hancock8761150
Bartholomew8274157
Warrick8084157
Floyd8043182
Grant7378181
Wayne7239201
Boone7211105
Morgan6924143
Marshall6345117
Dubois6283118
Cass6096112
Dearborn602178
Noble600890
Henry5958111
Jackson517277
Shelby511598
Lawrence4928127
Gibson463696
Montgomery459292
DeKalb456785
Clinton456055
Harrison454077
Huntington417882
Whitley416745
Steuben411260
Miami406073
Jasper401655
Knox388691
Putnam385762
Wabash370384
Adams353856
Ripley351971
Jefferson343487
White340154
Daviess3089100
Wells304081
Greene295185
Decatur292693
Fayette286564
Posey282635
Scott281058
LaGrange277772
Clay274949
Washington254637
Randolph247783
Jennings239749
Spencer238731
Fountain235850
Starke229959
Owen222959
Sullivan221643
Fulton208945
Jay203032
Carroll197722
Orange191756
Perry189939
Vermillion181144
Rush177627
Tipton173347
Franklin172535
Parke155916
Pike142534
Blackford138032
Pulaski123748
Newton123336
Benton109715
Brown106243
Crawford105816
Martin92515
Warren87915
Switzerland8378
Union73610
Ohio58411
Unassigned0429

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1125420

Reported Deaths: 20490
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1305631493
Cuyahoga1173952263
Hamilton825481261
Montgomery536581062
Summit489381014
Lucas43799834
Butler40064614
Stark33876939
Lorain26072510
Warren24959312
Mahoning22738613
Lake21482396
Clermont20425261
Delaware19169138
Licking16879227
Trumbull16829492
Fairfield16825207
Medina15880276
Greene15565254
Clark14366308
Portage13450218
Wood13358201
Allen12064245
Richland11748213
Miami11047228
Wayne9275228
Columbiana9216236
Muskingum9144137
Pickaway8755123
Tuscarawas8724255
Marion8716140
Erie8146166
Ashtabula7280179
Hancock7050135
Ross7031165
Geauga6975153
Scioto6726108
Belmont6224179
Lawrence5964104
Union591649
Jefferson5729162
Huron5644122
Sandusky5498130
Darke5448131
Seneca5380128
Washington5373111
Athens527260
Auglaize507787
Mercer491785
Shelby484397
Knox4621113
Madison448066
Ashland446198
Defiance439499
Fulton436875
Putnam4358104
Crawford4120111
Brown410462
Preble3956107
Logan392279
Clinton391466
Ottawa376481
Highland366668
Williams357378
Champaign349860
Guernsey331554
Jackson321954
Perry299050
Morrow294943
Fayette289350
Hardin279665
Henry277467
Coshocton273061
Holmes2726102
Van Wert252365
Gallia251150
Adams250958
Pike244837
Wyandot235557
Hocking222963
Carroll201449
Paulding180142
Meigs151540
Monroe137945
Noble137939
Harrison115438
Morgan111724
Vinton87517
Unassigned04
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