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Wednesday, Sep 22, 2021
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2 members of North Texas family quarantining in Panama hotel room after positive COVID-19 test

2 members of North Texas family quarantining in Panama hotel room after positive COVID-19 test

A Decatur family's vacation in Panama has now turned into a quarantine inside their hotel room.
The Rieger family was about to book a flight out, until a COVID-19 test came back positive.

Now, they find themselves stuck inside their hotel room for days.

Because of that, one of the teenagers missed his first day of his senior year in high school.

The Rieger family was wrapping up a vacation abroad, but because one of their kids tested positive for COVID-19, two of them are now in a hotel, in the custody of the Panamanian government.

It was supposed to be a relaxing, five-day family vacation to Panama.

A socially distant opportunity as COVID-19 cases climb in North Texas.

"And we knew we had to get tested going in, and we knew we had to get tested going out," Marie Rieger said.

All was well while in Panama, but when they tried to leave, their son, Mack, tested positive for the coronavirus.

"And their protocol there is, if you’re positive, then they just send you to this hotel," Mack said.

There was a police escort to a quarantine hotel for the 17-year-old. Marie has to stay with him, since he’s a minor, for the 14-day quarantine.

"We don’t have any control here. Nothing," Marie said.

Mack said he has no symptoms. His mother, who’s now been in the same hotel room with him since August 5, isn’t showing symptoms either.

"So we are so grateful that no symptoms and we are doing well," Marie said.

The family didn't want to discuss whether or not they were vaccinated before going on their vacation. The other two members of their family were able to travel back home to Decatur after negative COVID-19 tests.

They spent most of their vacation outside, even while eating meals.

"They’re doing whatever they can to keep tourism open," Marie added.

They’re sharing their story to warn others what can go wrong while traveling internationally during the pandemic.

"I missed my last first day of school to this," Mack said.

Mack’s friends back home created a cardboard cutout of him for the first day of school. Making light of his symptom-free, travel delay.

"It’s been long and boring," Mack said,

Still, the family knows there are other travelers at their quarantine hotel who aren’t as fortunate to be feeling well while locked down.

"Some of them are really sick, so we’re grateful that we don’t even have symptoms," Marie said.

Mack said he took two-different tests while preparing to leave the Panama airport and both were positive.

So he doesn’t believe he had a false positive test.
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