Coronavirus patient released from isolation in San Antonio spent 2 hours at mall

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Monday, March 2, 2020
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SAN ANTONIO, Texas (KTRK) -- San Antonio officials say a patient who was mistakenly released from the Texas Center for Infectious Disease facility spent two hours at a mall after she was let go.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg gave a brief statement on Monday in regard to the incident. During the press conference, he said the patient went to the mall around 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and spent most of that time sitting at the food court by herself. Officials add she also went to a local hotel.

At least three people came into contact with her at the hotel, and even with that, the risk factor is low.

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On Sunday, when the news broke, Nirenberg said that the patient was released from isolation at a local healthcare facility Saturday because she met the criteria for release, including two negative test results.

However, the patient later returned to isolation after a pending, subsequent lab test came up positive for the virus that causes COVID-19.

"The fact that the CDC allowed the public to be exposed to a patient with a positive COVID-19 reading is unacceptable," Nirenberg said.

The CDC says they are retesting the individual.

The patient had been under isolation while being treated for several weeks following a return to the U.S. from Wuhan, China.

The CDC says at the time of discharge from the facility, the patient had no symptoms and met all criteria for release.

However, after the release, the results of a subsequent sample were received, and determined to be weakly positive.

"We are doing everything in our local authority to make sure no one else is released right now," Nirenberg said.

The CDC says out of an abundance of caution, they decided to bring the individual back into isolation.

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Local public health officials are following up to trace possible exposures and notify them of the potential risk.

The CDC says others have encountered similar situations where test results have alternated back and forth between negative and positive.

This is why patients must have two negative test results from specimens taken more than 24 hours apart.

The mayor added that the cruise passengers who were scheduled to be released should stay quarantined.

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