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How San Antonio is responding to first travel-related coronavirus case in San Antonio

Patient is in self-quarantine with family, officials say

SAN ANTONIOUpdate:

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff has declared a public health emergency in Bexar County, as of Friday afternoon.

County officials say they will implement enhanced screening and monitoring processes for COVID-19 detection at the Bexar County Adult Detention Center.

All jury panels are suspended and rental property owners are urged to suspend evictions temporarily for the next 30 days, officials say.

Bexar County Commissioners Court will meet Wednesday, March 18 at 10 a.m. to discuss possibly extending the emergency declaration and other measures that need to be taken in response to COVID-19.

The city of San Antonio’s City Council will also hold a meeting Sunday, March 15 at 4 p.m., in case the council will need to take action on the COVID-19 response.

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San Antonio has its first travel-related coronavirus case, city officials confirmed on Friday.

The patient recently traveled out of state and is in self-quarantine with family, officials said. Doctors are conducting an extensive investigation into this person’s history. Officials said the individual has a travel history in the United States including California.

This case is not related to any of the evacuees at JBSA-Lackland who were infected with the virus.

The case does not indicate community spread, but officials could not say how many people have been tested for the virus.

The news is “not entirely surprising,” Nirenberg said. He stressed the public continue taking precautions to avoid any community spread.

The diagnosis prompted Nirenberg to issue a public health emergency. The emergency prohibits large gatherings of 500 people or more.

Fiesta San Antonio postponed until November due to coronavirus pandemic

The declaration is in effect for seven days. Large events this weekend, like the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, will be impacted by the declaration.

Other entities are following suit. During the pandemic, CPS Energy announced it will not disconnect energy to residents who are unable to pay their bill. The San Antonio Water System also announced it would not cut off water connections.

The San Antonio Housing Authority also announced Friday officials will not evict residents for non-criminal matters, like lease violations and late fees.

The patient began showing symptoms “earlier this month,” city officials said. The individual tested positive for the new virus on Thursday night.

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said juries will not convene for roughly 30 days in an effort to prevent any spread of the new virus.

“Just everybody be cautious. We’re going to be fine here in San Antonio,” Wolff said.

The pandemic has led first responders to change protocol when receiving a 911 call about flu-like symptoms, San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood said. They will ask whether the caller is a traveler or has come into close contact with a traveler. If the answer is yes, firefighters will wear protective gear before responding to the home.

Anyone who is ill should not call 911, officials said. They should contact their doctor or give the clinic advanced notice before visiting. Emergency rooms should only be visited as a last resort, officials said.

While a majority of COVID-19 cases around the world have been mild, officials said that vulnerable populations include anyone over 60, people with underlying health conditions, and women who are pregnant or were recently pregnant. Those people should not take part in gatherings that are larger than 10 people unless absolutely necessary, officials said.

While Nirenberg suggested people be prepared, he said “there is no excuse” to hoard grocery store products.

“The inventories will be flowing as long we can make sure people are understanding,” Nirenberg said.

The announcement marks the first case in the Alamo City beyond 11 evacuees from Wuhan, China, and the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship in Japan that were infected with COVID-19.

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.

Congressman Joaquin Castro is urging his constituents in San Antonio to call his office with any questions on how to prepare.

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