February 28, 2020

Castro Statement on Coronavirus Evacuees Treated at Lackland, Senator Shelby’s Refusal to Help Evacuees

WASHINGTON—Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Vice Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, and member of the House Intelligence and Education and Labor Committees, today released the following statement on coronavirus evacuees being treated at JBSA-Lackland as well as Senator Shelby’s refusal to help evacuees:

“Senator Shelby of Alabama has dangerously politicized the government’s coronavirus response by leveraging cronyism to prevent patients from receiving treatment at the Center of Domestic Preparedness (CDP) in Alabama. His outright refusal to take in America’s most vulnerable for treatment is despicable. San Antonio has responded to the call of duty, and we must work together to combat the coronavirus regardless of partisan beliefs. San Antonio, in concert with other cities across the country, will continue to do what is right. I urge Senator Shelby and any others who are inclined to make a power play for their own convenience to remember to work with their fellow Americans to do what’s best to contain and eliminate the coronavirus.  

“As San Antonio continues to house American evacuees from the Diamond Princess cruise ship who are under mandatory federal quarantine at JBSA-Lackland, it’s vital that San Antonian’s exposure to the quarantined population is as limited as possible. Along with Mayor Nirenberg and Judge Wolff, I believe that we must contain and test any patients suffering from mild symptoms at JBSA-Lackland, rather than transporting them to local civilian hospitals. Our community has a limited number of isolation rooms and filling them with people not in need of hospital-level care is not an appropriate use of these rooms. Medical tests and proper isolation procedures can be conducted at the military base and greatly limits local exposure to this virus. Building this protective bulwark for our community means that we must avoid any unnecessary transport of patients (even in isolated ambulances) into our community and in our hospitals.” 

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