March 3 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Mike Hayes, Meg Wagner and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 9:23 p.m. ET, March 2, 2020
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8:17 p.m. ET, March 2, 2020

San Antonio is suing the federal government over coronavirus quarantine protocol

From CNN's Pierre Meilhan

The city of San Antonio filed a lawsuit Monday against the federal government, including several agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Justice Department and the Department of Health and Human Services, to prevent further releases of individuals who have been quarantined at Lackland Air Force Base without the city’s input and demands.

The move follows the CDC’s release of a woman from quarantine at Lackland AFB, who later tested positive for the coronavirus.

The litigation filed in US District Court aims to obtain a temporary restraining order over the government’s actions to release individuals from quarantine and the government’s “failure to consult with and incorporate local government in the planning and implementation process, and risks imposing a serious burden on the City's emergency services.”

As part of its efforts to protect its community from the outbreak, the city is also demanding that patients undergo three tests for coronavirus, instead of the current two, as part of the protocol to end their quarantine.

The lawsuit is also seeking a protocol that would be agreed between the city, the state of Texas and the CDC prior to releasing patients who are under quarantine.

City officials are also asking the court to maintain the status quo of the surgeon general’s exercise of quarantine authority. The surgeon general, with the approval of the health and human services secretary, is legally authorized to make and enforce a quarantine if he deems it necessary to prevent the introduction, transmission or spread of communicable diseases from foreign countries into the United States.

8:13 p.m. ET, March 2, 2020

Australia may use biosecurity laws to detain citizens suspected of carrying coronavirus, attorney general warns

From CNN’s Eric Cheung 

Australia will consider invoking the Biosecurity Act to detain its citizens suspected of carrying the coronavirus, Attorney General Christian Porter warned Monday.

In an interview with CNN affiliate Sky News Australia, Porter said there is a range of powers available that will allow the government to control people’s movements as it handles outbreaks such as the novel coronavirus.

He said detention may be an option for those who refuse to cooperate with health officials, including undergoing "a brief decontamination" or providing "information on where they have been or who they have been in contact with.”

The government will also consider declaring “human health zones” that will require everyone entering or leaving a certain area to be screened.

8:12 p.m. ET, March 2, 2020

No confirmed coronavirus cases in Colorado, Denver’s mayor says

From CNN's Pierre Meilhan

There are no confirmed coronavirus cases in the state of Colorado after all 23 people who were tested had negative results, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said Monday.

There are currently nine pending tests, Hancock told reporters.

Among the negative cases, six were in Denver and there are three pending, Hancock said.

8:12 p.m. ET, March 2, 2020

44-story downtown Seattle tower closes amid coronavirus concerns 

From CNN's Dave Alsup

The F5 Tower, center, in downtown Seattle.
The F5 Tower, center, in downtown Seattle. Paul Christian Gordon/Alamy Stock Photo

The 44-story F5 Tower in downtown Seattle closed for cleaning Monday after F5 learned an employee had been in contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus, according to The Seattle Times.

Rob Gruening, a spokesman for the company, told the Times the employee tested negative, but the building was closed as a precaution.

8:12 p.m. ET, March 2, 2020

First responders in Washington to begin wearing protective gear for all calls

From CNN's Kay Jones

Local emergency responders in Kirkland, Washington, are changing their procedures after four local nursing home residents died of the coronavirus.

Kirkland emergency medical technicians will now wear protective clothing every time they are called out to respond to a sick patient, even if that person does not tell them about any coronavirus symptoms, city spokeswoman Kellie Stickney told CNN. 

Stickney said there were two recent cases in which first responders treated people without any special protection, learning only after the fact that the patients had been experiencing flu-like symptoms.

Stickney said she did not know whether either of those patients were later determined to be infected with coronavirus.

7:34 p.m. ET, March 2, 2020

Washington governor says people should reconsider attending large events because of coronavirus concerns

From CNN's Andy Rose

Inslee, right, talks to the media about Washington's coronavirus efforts on Monday, March 2.
Inslee, right, talks to the media about Washington's coronavirus efforts on Monday, March 2. Rachel La Corte/AP

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee advised residents to stay home more in order to avoid the spread of novel coronavirus. 

“We think folks should begin to think about avoiding large events and assemblies,” Inslee said in a news conference Monday.

Washington is the only state in the United States so far where people have died as a result of coronavirus. There are six confirmed fatalities out of 18 total cases in Washington.

Inslee said he has the power to declare an emergency and force large events to be canceled, but he does not think that step is necessary right now. 

The governor also said he has the ability to call up the National Guard if needed to assist medical teams and provide security. Inslee says he discussed the possibility of eventually using military assets in a phone call with Vice President Mike Pence, the head of the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force.

Four of the people who died of coronavirus were residents of a single nursing home, Life Care Center in Kirkland. Officials have not speculated about how those patients may have been infected, but Washington Secretary of Health John Wiesman tells reporters, “If I have a loved one in a nursing home or a hospital, I should not go visit them if I’m sick.”

7:18 p.m. ET, March 2, 2020

San Antonio mayor declares public health emergency after patient was mistakenly released by CDC from quarantine

From CNN's Pierre Meilhan

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg declared a local public health emergency Monday following the CDC release of a woman from quarantine at Lackland Air Force Base who later tested positive for the coronavirus.

“It's worth reiterating that this declaration is explicitly designed to ensure evacuees from the Diamond Princess cruise ship cohort remain at Lackland AFB until further testing is completed,” Nirenberg tweeted.

Lackland Air Force Base is in San Antonio.

7:18 p.m. ET, March 2, 2020

US officials press airlines to collect more traveler data to aid coronavirus response

From CNN's Jeremy Diamond and Greg Wallace

Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

US officials are pressing airlines to collect and share more data on international travelers while federal health officials combat the coronavirus, two officials tell CNN.

The data request includes contact information that would help health officials follow up with potential carriers of the coronavirus, or fellow travelers who may have come into contact with an infected person.  

The request itself is outlined in an interim final rule the CDC and Department of Health and Human Services issued in mid-February. It requests airlines provide, within 24 hours of a CDC request, each passenger’s name, “address while in the United States,” email address, and both a primary and secondary phone number.

The only issue is that many air carriers don’t currently collect some of the contact details the CDC is requesting, according to an industry official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Bookings made through a third party search engine, for example, may include highly limited information about a passenger.

7:18 p.m. ET, March 2, 2020

There are now 102 cases of coronavirus in the US

From CNN's Dave Alsup

There are 102 cases of the novel coronavirus in the United States, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as state and local governments. 

There are 48 cases from repatriated citizens, according to the CDC. 

There are 54 cases in 11 states, according to CNN Health’s tally of US cases that are detected and tested in the United States through US public health systems. 

This brings the total number of coronavirus cases to 102. This includes presumptive positive cases that tested positive in a public health lab and are pending confirmation from the CDC, and confirmed cases that have received positive results from the CDC.

Here is the breakdown by state of cases in the United States:

  • Arizona – 1  
  • California – 20 
  • Florida - 2 
  • Illinois - 4  
  • Massachusetts - 1 
  • New York - 1 
  • Oregon - 3 
  • Rhode Island - 2  
  • Washington state - 18 (includes 6 fatalities)   
  • Wisconsin - 1