Photo: Bob Owen /Staff Photographer
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San Antonio civic leaders have expressed concerns about the federal quarantine process since the first evacuees landed in the city.
On Monday, Mayor Ron Nirenberg labeled the dysfunction “simply stunning” in an interview with the Washington Post.
“It’s disconcerting,” said Nirenberg. “Throughout the course of this, what I’ve seen is that the lack of coordination at the highest levels of this president’s administration is simply stunning.”
The Post noted that Texas is one of three states (along with California and Georgia) that has accepted evacuees from China and cruise ships. Local officials in all three areas told the newspaper they have been blindsided by sudden requests and exasperated by haphazard protocols.
The Alamo City earned an ignominious honor, even among that group.
“No place has had a more disturbing experience than San Antonio,” the Post writes.
City officials were told the first evacuees would be confined to Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland and pose no danger to residents. Federal officials did not tell them Lackland was refusing to house any evacuee who tested positive for the virus.
When the plane landed, San Antonio authorities learned one person was sick and they were expected to care for her.
Nirenberg told the Post that getting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials to talk “was like getting a diamond out of coal. Everyone continued to point up. They weren’t being empowered to make decisions locally.”
The mayor noted he was concerned that standards appear to differ from state to state.
“The standard we ought to be going with is that of the medical professionals, not the federal bureaucracy,” Nirenberg said.