Local NewsLaredo Warns Coronavirus Patients May Be Prosecuted for Failing to Quarantine, Cooperate with Contact Tracers

Laredo’s city manager said anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 and does not quarantine could face up to ten years in prison.
July 7, 2020
On Monday, the City of Laredo threatened residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 with criminal prosecution if they fail to quarantine or cooperate with the city’s contact tracing efforts.

City Manager Robert Eads stated that anyone who does not quarantine while testing positive for the virus could face up to 10 years in prison.

Eads claimed that participating in contact tracing is mandatory, even though the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) says that participation is not required.

The city said they will issue subpoenas if necessary to force coronavirus patients and other residents to cooperate with contact tracing personnel.

Contact tracing is the state’s attempt to slow the spread by following up with individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, verifying that they are taking precautions, and gathering information about other individuals they may have come into contact with.

The Texan Tumbler

Eads also misstated the punishment for a third degree felony.

The Texas Health and Safety Code provides that anyone violating a lawful quarantine is guilty of a third degree felony, which carries a penalty of two to 10 years of imprisonment. Eads said the minimum penalty is five years in prison.

Laredo is notorious for its aggressive enforcement of coronavirus control measures.

In April, the city arrested two beauticians in a sting operation for violating the temporary prohibition on salons and barbershops.

The incident would be part of Gov. Greg Abbott’s basis for retroactively precluding imprisonment as a consequence of violating his coronavirus executive orders.

Laredo was also one of the first municipalities to mandate face coverings early in the pandemic, and even instated a curfew of 10:00 PM to 5:00 AM for residents performing activities deemed “non-essential” by authorities.

Laredo is the county seat of Webb County, where 781 residents have recovered from COVID-19, and 29 have died, per the county’s data.


Disclosure: Unlike almost every other media outlet, The Texan is not beholden to any special interests, does not apply for any type of state or federal funding, and relies exclusively on its readers for financial support. If you’d like to become one of the people we’re financially accountable to, click here to subscribe.

Get “KB's Hot Take”

A free bi-weekly commentary on current events by Konni Burton.

Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."

Related Posts