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Cruise ship passengers arrive at MCAS Miramar for coronavirus quarantine

Posted at 2:45 PM, Mar 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-11 08:52:07-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Officials say more than 80 people are currently being monitored for coronavirus symptoms in San Diego County, as the first flight of quarantine passengers from a cruise ship arrived at MCAS Miramar Tuesday.

A group consisting of between 50-60 people arrived at MCAS Miramar just before 10 p.m. Tuesday for a 14-day quarantine. The passengers had been aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship that was brought to Oakland.

All passengers have been screened and showed no symptoms, County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten said, adding that about 400 more passengers were expected to arrive at Miramar on Wednesday.

The cruise ship reported at least 20 people infected with coronavirus aboard the ship, before it was directed to dock in Oakland after spending about a week awaiting orders off California's coast.

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About 900 California residents who were aboard the ship will be repatriated through MCAS Miramar and Travis Air Force Base in Northern California, according to Wooten. MCAS Miramar confirmed the arrival late Tuesday and larger group expected Wednesday.

In a statement, MCAS Miramar Commanding Officer Col. Charles Dockery said the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is leading the local quarantine effort on the base.

"As with the previous mission, all passengers entering quarantine will have been deemed asymptomatic by health care professionals. Passengers will remain quarantined throughout the 14-day period and there will be no contact with DOD personnel. Finally, any person that tests positive for COVID-19 will be transferred off-station," Col. Dockery's statement read.

San Diego is currently monitoring 73 travelers from China and Iran for coronavirus symptoms, according to the county. Since Feb. 6, 448 travelers have been monitored, with 375 travelers clearing their quarantine period.

Currently, 11 non-travel related individuals in San Diego County are being monitored: Nine who had contact with an Orange County patient who works in Chula Vista and two people who had contact with a travel-related coronavirus patient who lives in San Diego County.

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The woman, who is in her 50s, was at the hospital for another reason before she was discharged and felt ill again, the county said, and is currently doing well.

The number of healthcare workers who had contact with the local patient is still pending, according to the county.

There are currently 23 patients under investigation (PUI) in San Diego County. The county adds that 63 resident PUIs, six non-resident PUIs, and four CBP/ICE detainee PUIs have tested negative for the virus.

RELATED: Grand Princess cruise ship passengers to be quarantined at MCAS Miramar amid coronavirus

County leaders said that they believe the risk to the general public remains low.

Around the county, homeless outreach teams plan to distribute hygiene kits and deploy hand washing stations around the county. If someone in a homeless shelter needs to be isolated, the county said they'll follow CDC guidelines in treating the individual.

Hand washing stations will be installed at trolley stations, but it will largely be up to individual cities where they are placed.

Symptoms of coronavirus are similar to that of other seasonal illnesses and include fever, cough, and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. Anyone with questions surrounding the virus is encourage to call the county's hot line at 2-1-1.