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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Judge Nelson Wolff Raises Concerns About Coronavirus Evacuees Being Sent to San Antonio Hospitals for Testing

Posted By on Tue, Feb 18, 2020 at 3:28 PM

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  • Nelson Wolff
Judge Nelson Wolff wants the feds to stop taking evacuees quarantined at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland to local hospitals for medical tests that could be handled on-base.

In a letter sent to U.S. Rep. Chip Roy's office Tuesday, Wolff asks the Republican congressman to reach out to the Department of Defense and request that it stop its policy of carting evacuees to San Antonio hospitals.

Local hospitals have been "asked to evaluate, and in some cases, admit" patients who have minor symptoms but have not tested positive for the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, Wolff said in the letter. In a subsequent phone interview, Wolff said he thinks at least three people have been moved from the base.

"This requirement, as established by the U.S. Department of Defense, results in the unnecessary transport of evacuees to other parts of our community, placing healthcare staff and potentially other residents at increased risk of exposure," Wolff wrote in the letter, dated Tuesday.

A spokesman for Wolff's office said the judge, a Democrat, asked for Roy's help because staff from the congressman's office were on a call with federal officials during which Wolff brought up the testing process.

In his letter, Wolff said there are enough healthcare personnel on base to collect test samples and monitor the care of individuals in quarantine.

With the arrival of 145 additional people evacuated from a cruise ship docked in Japan, the federal quarantine at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland now stands at 235 people.

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