City of San Antonio issues Public Health Emergency Declaration and sought temporary restraining order to keep quarantine in effect for Diamond Princess cruise ship evacuees

CONTACT: Laura Mayes, Government & Public Affairs
 (210) 207-1337; (956) 821-7925

 Michelle Vigil, San Antonio Metro Health
 Office: (210) 207-8172


 SAN ANTONIO (March 2, 2020)
— Mayor Ron Nirenberg and the City of San Antonio took a two-pronged legal approach today to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19. First, the City Attorney's Office sought temporary restraining order (TRO) in federal court to prevent the more than 120 people who have completed their 14-day quarantine from being released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) until they have been tested and confirmed negative for the virus or complete a 28-day quarantine. The intent of the TRO was to pause the planned release today of the Diamond Princess cruise ship evacuees by the CDC and give the federal government the time necessary to be absolutely sure that those who are released from quarantine pose no risk to the community.

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 Second, Mayor Nirenberg issued a Public Health Emergency Declaration, which authorizes the City to take any actions necessary to promote health and suppress disease, including quarantine. The order specifically declares that "ingress into and travel through the City of San Antonio from Lackland by those persons that have been quarantined in the facility is not permitted. No previously quarantined person shall be permitted to enter the City of San Antonio until further notice." Effectively, the order requires the more than 120 evacuees at Lackland Air Force Base to remain on base and under quarantine.

 "Especially given the release this weekend of a patient who had to be brought back into isolation after a "weakly positive" test for the virus, it is imperative that every one of the individuals at Lackland be tested and cleared before being released, as recommended by our medical community," said Mayor Ron Nirenberg. "If the federal government will not do the right thing in this case, the City of San Antonio will use its powers so that appropriate measures are taken to protect the community from exposure to COVID-19."

 The City and the US Attorney's Office participated in a hearing of the TRO in front of U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez. Judge Rodriguez denied the TRO, however he stated in the order: "The United States Government is, in effect, washing its own hands further of this quarantine. This is disappointing."

ATTACHMENT: A copy of Judge Rodriguez's order.stats

Filed Under: Government, City

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