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Coronavirus quarantine day 28 – release date! Or is it?

3/2/2020 
06:22 
We cleared our last temperature check! 97.1F for me, 98F for Rachel.

They let us know that there has been a change in departure time, and are unsure if we will be leaving today or not at this time. Conference call information will be passed out soon.

07:00

A view of the buses, tables, and personnel.

08:20 
Breakfast is here – we were supposed to grab it on our way out, but instead it has been delivered.

08:33 
Two of the three buses are now gone. They were empty.

Here’s the conference call. Looking like we may not actually get out today.

“Please announce your name.” – phone prompt. “People be P***ed!!” – some guy.

This will be a short call so we can work out some urgent issues.

Many of you are wondering why we are having this call instead of getting ready to go home.

We had some discussions with the government due to some late discussions that took place last night.

There will be some delays in your departure today.

They will stay committed to keep us informed, and safe.

There will be several conference calls today.

There is no further information at this time, and we do not know our release.

Q: What issues are there with the Texas government? 
A: There is concern regarding our release of quarantine. We are working with state officials on having everyone feel comfortable with us leaving.

Q: We have confirmed flights.. should we cancel those? 
A: I know that there are plans made, and we are extremely sorry for these changes. We are working on addressing travel plans.

Q: Are we leaving today, or not? 
A: I can’t answer that at this time – we are actively working on it.

Q: Why are we being withheld information regarding the San Antonio case? We’re not leaving because of that incident! 
A: We are all in a different situation. We don’t fully understand the virus. With that particular individual, the clinical course was much longer than usual. She met the criteria for discharge.

Q: I do believe we are crossing the line on illegal confinement. I have a law firm in contact to represent all of the quarantined individuals. Do I need to activate this to protect us? I have practiced law for many years. 
A: I will definitely pass that on, and keep that in mind today.

Q: Travis is being released – why is it different. 
A: As far as I know, they are being released. The concerns raised are specific to the government of Texas.

We’ve been here working to get you out for two weeks, and we are going to continue to drive towards that. We will let you know when the conference calls will be.

09:19 
All of the buses are gone.

11:00 In talks with people around the base – looking like we will get out today. I will update with info shortly, but can’t release it as of yet.

11:37 Statement by Governor Greg Abbott. Watch 3:30 onwards.

11:53 Everyone on base looks like they are still planning for our departure shortly. My updates may get spotty if we end up departing, but I will update on bulk later.

12:18

12:40

Lunch! Chicken fried steak, cream corn, and pasta salad.

14:33 Good morning America has reached out to Rachel and I. We will do a Skype interview with them in about an hour. Still no news.

14:41 Someone just tried to hop the fence. 4-5 cars drove up rather quickly.

14:54 Another person is trying to escape, lots of yelling.

15:22 About to interview with Good Morning America! Will air in the morning. I have news, but I can’t release it at this time as it is in the works. We also have interviews with a local San Antonio station, The Dallas Morning News, and possibly CBS11 in DFW.

16:00 Conference call! It’s been a stressful day. They apologized for not having a call today since this morning. There were some shifts that happened with the state of Texas, and concerns released today regarding quarantine release. Many CDC officials around the country are working on the issue.

What we know:

  1. the city of San Antonio declared a public health emergency. There is specific language within this declaration that prohibits us from traveling in or through the city.
  2. The city may have a federal restraining order, which would again keep us away from the city.
  3. We have had some productive meetings, and are working to find some solutions around these issues.

We don’t have a final solution at this time. After this brief call, we will continue to have these meetings. I’m hopeful to find a way forward, despite some of the challenges that we are having.

What does this mean from the federal prospective:

The quarantine order has expired. CDC authorities @headquarters took over the call to explain what’s happening.

We know that you have been under extreme pressure and stress for the past few weeks.

We will have to have you trust us with what we will need to do. Hold on to that trust just a little longer so we can get through this.

Many people are working on our safety, and concerns of the public.

Back to the CDC head;

Q: What authority are we being held from? Is it the state of Texas, or federal government? 
A: As of right now, your quarantine order is still in place. The order carries us through the day today. We were hoping to work everything out today, because at midnight you are all released, legally. This is why we wanted to talk about the declaration of emergency mentioned previously. Within this declarations, there are a number of components. One that is quite significant is:

  1. Pursuant to (code), this declaration lets the city do whatever they need to do to ensure safety of the city such as additional quarantine, fining, etc.
  2. The mayor declares travel throughout the city by Lackland residents.
  3. Effective immediately. Concern and fear is what happens to you all when you enter the city of San Antonio. We are trying to get you out of here and to home.

Q: Can we just get on a plane from Lackland and go to California to bypass Texas? The mayor is clueless! 
A: We are looking into this. There are a lot of options on the table.

What about us Texans?

The CDC is unfortunately getting hammered by politics. The CDC is trying everything possible to get us out of here.

Q: Being that this is a federal establishment, Will we still be quarantined here after our order expires? 
A: We are trying to work through these things, but don’t have a final solution as of yet. Again, our goal is to get you home without additional quarantine under a different jurisdiction (I.e. state/city quarantine).

Q: Are we staying overnight? 
A: As it gets later in the day, ideally we want you home. We also don’t want you to worry about local authorities. I have concerns moving you off the base at this time, because I don’t know what would happen with this health declaration of San Antonio.

Practicalities of the next few hours: CDC head will continue to work on solutions. The federal quarantine order expires at midnight. We have had discussions with leadership at the base. There are no issues with you remaining in the space that we are in. It’s a safe space, and ours to use. If there is not a way to facilitate safe movement this evening, we will stay overnight. Safety is our primary concern. Options given:

  1. Stay in our room, meals are ordered for night/morning, goal is to move tomorrow
  2. Some can depart, as no federal quarantine order will be active after midnight. We would rather you stay with us, as it would be safer.

A few of you are still under a longer quarantine period. Our individuals who are extended will continue to isolate themselves inside their room so that the rest of us aren’t exposed.

Well, my moms birthday is tomorrow. Unfortunately, it’s looking very likely that I won’t make it.

18:45 
Just had dinner (a cheeseburger, pudding, and potato salad). Interviewed with NBC 5, Good Morning America, KENS 5 San Antonio, Dallas Morning News, CBS 11, Univision. No news as of yet.

20:10
The restraining order has failed to be placed on us.

20:33 
Supposedly the San Antonio government was trying to keep us for another two weeks.

21:21 
CDC staff coming to our rooms for those of us who finished quarantine. We are getting our resend order for our quarantine, and medical clearance letter. -we got them as she announced this. The CDC came without PPE, and said we no longer need our masks.

Flights are being rebooked for tomorrow around 2PM. That is the best that they can do for now, pending negotiation with the Texas government and San Antonio. Some people want to take morning flights, and are keeping them.

Tonight, we are free to stay in our rooms OR can leave as of right now.

Options to get us off base if we choose:

  1. 15 passenger van with multiple trips. They can only reach the front of the base.
  2. If we do leave, we will have to show our resend orders to be released.

We will have breakfast in the morning. They will work hard to get flights set up, and get on our busses. Early morning flights are being held.

Earlier today, there was mention of the declaration of health emergency – this is still in place. If we leave base, the CDC has no control, and we may be quarantined by the city of San Antonio, as well as the entire county.

That being said, we will stay on the base tonight to stay safe. It’s too risky for us to leave.

Supposedly the mayor is okay with us going to the airport via CDC transportation tomorrow. It is less likely that the city will intervene with this transportation.

We will just have to trust that we won’t be detained by local authorities.

Q: We have an insurance company who will fly a plane into a private area of the base. Can we do that? 
A: I’m not sure if that’s allowed – we think the pilot would need clearance. This was an idea that came up earlier. If cleared, it may be okay for you to do that.

If only we had a private jet. 😜

“We’ll try to do the same plan we had today, tomorrow. This is Groundhog Day.”

5 flights before 8AM. The operations will start very early.

Q: My wife and I live in San Antonio. I just need to pick up my truck at the airport. 
A: I think you just need to ride with us to the air port.

Wonder what happens with him being as he lives in San Antonio?

Supposedly, the city wants San Antonio residents to be screened, and put in touch with the local health department. Sounds like a potential quarantine, but they have not mentioned that this will be the case. They should be able to remain in their hone. Keep them in your thoughts!

The CDC is strongly recommending staying overnight, and getting out of town ASAP.

No temperature checks in the morning.

Q: I’m concerned about the city doing something to us between now and tomorrow. What if we make another reservation for tomorrow, and they shoot us down when we could get out tonight? 
A: You will have to make your own decision. Either way, regardless of if you leave today or tomorrow, there is a risk of the local government interfering.

We have to have you all off the base, as you haven’t signed in as a visitor.

Q: We are Texas residents, and live in a different city. We are nervous about leaving the CDC protection and into the state. We need a rental car. 
A: If you get on a bus to the airport, you can grab a rental car there. The latest discussion with the state government concurred with HHS. Being as we’re going to different areas of the state, you should be safe.

Q: Are we free to leave at any time? 
A: Yes, as soon as you have your paperwork.

They have guaranteed that as of midnight, we are free to leave as we please. It’s a shame that we have to be afraid of our own state government.

Can we just have Whataburger run for office?

Q: It’s very difficult for us to make a decision tonight – we’re between a rock and a hard place, as there are two health declarations out. Do you have anymore guidance on enforcement of the declaration, and if they are patrolling the outside of the base? 
A: The difference on our end is where we can take you tonight vs. tomorrow. The people who have been working on this go up to extremely high levels in the US government, including our agency director. The highest levels of HHS, such as the assistant secretary of health that we met previously. If there are problems, I have a lot of people I can reach out to. We however don’t have much we can do, as it’s out of our jurisdiction. All of the Texas declarations are based out of fear, and we disagree with them.

Negotiations have not been made with the county. We are hoping that this doesn’t impact our travel.

Q: How will we be protected? 
A: We are running the buses no matter what tomorrow, and can’t guarantee anything. It is risky, as is leaving tonight.

We can stay tomorrow night if we would like, but the majority are leaving tomorrow.

We want to get you guys home safely, so we will keep pressing forward.

My wife and I are amazed at how we’re just causally talking about how to get out of the county to not get arrested or re-quarantined.

Our journey home!

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