CDC mistakenly released Texas coronavirus patient who later tested positive, San Antonio mayor says

San Antonio, Texas Mayor Ron Nirenberg on Sunday said that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mistakenly released a patient who later tested positive for COVID-19, otherwise known as the coronavirus.

The patient, who was part of a group that traveled back to the U.S. from Wuhan, China roughly two weeks ago on a State Department chartered flight, was initially asymptomatic and had a negative result in two tests taken 24 hours apart. After the patient was cleared and released, the CDC said a later test showed that the individual had contracted the virus.

The CDC have confirmed that they are now retesting the individual, who has since been put back into quarantine at a local medical facility after having contact with others. After testing negative twice, the later test determined the patient to be “weakly positive,” the CDC said in a statement.

Nirenberg criticized the federal agency for exposing Texas citizens to the virus in a statement shared to Twitter on Sunday evening, where he called the mistake “unacceptable.”

“Today we learned that the CDC mistakenly released a patient from the Texas Center for Infectious Disease who later returned a positive COVID-19 reading,” Nirenberg wrote. “The fact that the CDC allowed the public to be exposed to a patient with a positive COVID-19 reading is unacceptable.”

Newsweek reached out to the CDC for comment.


The CDC and local public health partners are also tracking down other individuals who the patient has had contact with during their time discharged from hospital to notify these possible exposures of the potential risk.

“It’s important to remember that this is a new virus and we are learning more about it every day,” the agency said. “The cycle of infection with COVID-19 is not yet well understood, but the amount of virus is typically highest when the person is sickest. As the illness resolves, the amount of virus falls.”

News of the patient comes as both New York and Rhode Island confirmed their first coronavirus cases this weekend. In a statement on Sunday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the patient is a woman in her late thirties who had contracted the virus while traveling abroad in Iran. “She is currently isolated in her home. The patient has respiratory symptoms, but is not in serious condition and has been in a controlled situation since arriving to New York,” the governor said.

Meanwhile, the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) on Sunday also confirmed their state’s first presumptive positive case of the disease. The infected patient, who’s in their 40s, is being treated for the virus after traveling to Italy mid-last month.

*Story by NewsWeek