CDC: Two more positive coronavirus cases “around Lackland”
Coronavirus. Photo: CDC

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — There are two new cases of the coronavirus confirmed at the federal quarantine at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.

The CDC said these cases are from the latest round of evacuations from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.

Dr. Nancy Messonnier said there were 18 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States — two of them “around Lackland”.

“We do expect to see additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the passengers,” Messonnier told reporters in a briefing, citing the high risk these passengers display.

It is not clear exactly where these new San Antonio patients are being treated.

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff and Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Calvert said earlier this week that they were concerned with how the Department of Defense was using these bases and the strategy of handling these passengers returning from overseas.

Joint Base San Antonio officials have told the media the CDC and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is responsible for all aspects of handling and treating these passengers, with defense officials helping by providing the grounds.

Messonnier was asked whether any changes have been made to the policy of taking ill passengers off-base to a civilian medical facility in San Antonio — or if the Texas Center for Infectious Disease was taking any of these patients instead.

She referred those questions to the Department of Defense, though military officials have referred those questions to CDC.

“When someone is identified as being ill, those are the folks that are being hospitalized.  There are people who are in quarantine, there are people who are in local hospitals because they are getting care,” Dr. Messonnier responded to a question from a San Antonio reporter on the matter.  “In each of these cases and each of these situations, the individual patient-level decisions end up being a little bit different as we make those decisions with the health department and with the DoD and the folks that have been kind enough to let us keep the passengers on these bases.”

Messonnier said the CDC and its partners are working to both help the U.S. citizens who are being brought back to the United States to be quarantined or treated for the virus and keeping American communities and military bases safe from the disease.

“Working those issues together, those individual situations end up being a little different,” the doctor stated.  “I want to extend my thanks to the men and women on all of the DoD bases and their families for their graciousness while hosting these guests.  We are also thankful that Travis Air Force Base and Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland have continued to open their doors to the passengers of the recently returned passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.”

The other passengers that are brought to Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan remain under quarantine.

Evacuees from China that were under quarantine at the military base have been released after the mandated 14-day stay.  The one confirmed case from that group was also transferred after being treated at Methodist Hospital Texsan in Balcones Heights.

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