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The CDC wanted to drop released coronavirus quarantine patients off at a shopping mall in San Antonio

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Seems like a bad idea

Officials stand with buses carrying American evacuees from the Diamond Princess cruise ship arriving at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland on Feb. 17 in San Antonio. (Edward A. Ornelas/Getty Images)

The city of San Antonio filed a lawsuit Monday to stop a plan by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to drop some patients released from coronavirus quarantine off at a local shopping mall, according to the Associated Press.

The patients had been passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which spent about two weeks docked in Yokohama, Japan, with more than 600 confirmed cases of COVID-19. After returning to the U.S., they were again quarantined at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.

The CDC's plan

More than 100 passengers were quarantined at Lackland, and 122 were released Tuesday (seven remain in quarantine). Those from out of state were transported to the airport to return home, and those from other places in Texas were set up with rental cars.

The CDC's plan for San Antonio residents, however, was to drop them off at North Star Mall. From the AP:

PassengerTerri Feil of Houston said a CDC official told them in a conference call Sunday that the mall, about 17 miles (27 kilometers) from the base, was chosen to avoid the media.

Feil said only people who were not going to the airport were to be dropped off at the mall. The Feils showed The Associated Press a text message they said was from the CDC indicating they were to be dropped off at the entrance by The Cheesecake Factory.

"My husband was asking, 'Who made this decision?'" said Feil, adding that the couple's son was driving from Houston to pick them up.

A CDC spokesperson would not address the specifics of the release plan in an email to the AP.

"Many factors were taken into consideration when determining how best to return the evacuees to their communities as safely as possible," CDC spokeswoman Carol Williams said in an email, the AP reported.

More issues for North Star Mall

News of the drop-off plan comes just after a woman who was mistakenly released from quarantine visited North Star Mall and the airport before officials realized she had tested positive for COVID-19 and got her back into isolation.

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