State Department Evacuees Brought COVID-19 To Texas

Coronavirus threat to San Antonio Texas remains low

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The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed another Coronavirus Disease infection in the United States. 

Announced on February 13, 2020, the CDC said this patient is among a group of people currently under a federal quarantine order, located near San Antonio, Texas, at Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA)-Lackland.

During a webcast, San Antonio’s Mayor Ron Nirenberg said, ‘the threat level in San Antonio remains "low" and the "system worked precisely" to detect COVID-19 symptoms and safely transport infected patients to a local hospital.’

The CDC said in a press statement that ‘this is the 1st person under quarantine at JBSA-Lackland who had symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19. The individual is currently isolated and receiving medical care at a designated hospital nearby.’

This person, and about 175 others, were quarantined because of their return to the USA on a US State Department-chartered flight, that arrived in Texas on February 7, 2020.

On February 5, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services said the individuals at JBSA-Lackland would be housed during the quarantine period at the Gateway Inn and the Gateway Villa.

The CDC previously announced that ‘anyone who recently lived or traveled in Hubei Province, China, is considered ‘high-risk’ of having been exposed to the coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 disease.

Furthermore, these high-risk individuals are subject to a temporary 14-day quarantine upon entry into the USA. 

This announcement brings the total number of COVID-19 cases confirmed in the USA to 15. 

Moreover, during the webcast call and related press statement today, CDC officials said ‘While 195 people were discharged from quarantine on Tuesday, more than 600 people who returned on chartered flights from Wuhan, China, remain under federal quarantine and are being closely monitored to contain the spread of the virus.’

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And, ‘there could be additional COVID-19 cases in the coming days and weeks, including among other people recently returned from China.’ 

To notify healthcare providers in Texas, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) issued a new Health Alert on February 11, 2020: Recommendations for Healthcare Personnel Evaluating Patients for Possible 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection.

This Texas DSHS Health Alert offers the following advice:

  1. Triage and implement infection control for patients seeking medical care for symptoms associated with 2019-nCoV infection.
  2. Assess patients using specified criteria to determine who meets the definition of persons under investigation (PUI) for COVID-19.
  3. Report immediately to your local health department (LHD) any patients who meet the PUI criteria for COVID-19. 
  4. Collect specimens for testing after consulting with your LHD, who will help determine if the patient meets the criteria for a PUI for COVID-19.
  5. Evaluate the patient’s disposition and decide, in conjunction with the LHD, whether home isolation is appropriate.
  6. The CDC and DSHS only recommend the use of full PPE (standard, contact and airborne precautions, and eye protection) with patients with confirmed or possible COVID-19 infection. Otherwise standard hospital infection control practices should be followed. 

At this time, diagnostic testing for the COVID-19 disease is still limited to the CDC. The new CDC test kits have been issued, but are not yet operational in Texas.

The Texas DSHS and certain Texas Laboratory Response Network labs will acquire the capacity to perform this COVID-19 test in the coming weeks.

The CDC reaffirmed there are no preventive vaccines or therapeutic medications approved as of February 13, 2020.

The CDC does suggest the general public take everyday preventive actions needed to keep safe, such as washing hands, covering a cough, and staying home when sick.

Travel advisory news published by Vax-Before-Travel.