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San Diego declares two emergencies over coronavirus to free up resources

mcas miramar coronavirus evacuees_2.png
Posted at 4:50 PM, Feb 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-15 09:16:53-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — San Diego leaders declared a local emergency and public health emergency for seven days over the novel coronavirus, giving officials access to resources to address the virus.

CDC and county health officials cautioned that the declarations did not mean residents faced an increased risk of the virus.

Under the declarations, the county will be able to seek mutual aid, potentially be reimbursed for their response, and ensure resources to first responders and hospitals, stock pile medical supplies and gain access to hospital beds, and state and federal emergency funds if necessary.

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"This action does not signify an increase in the risk to the residents in San Diego County to coronavirus," Supervisor Nathan Fletcher told the media. "This is a step that positions us best to confront the challenges of this virus, this action best equips us to be in the strongest position to coordinate efforts, ensure access to available supplies, and best protect public health."

Officials called the move "proactive preparation."

The County Board of Supervisors will meet on whether to extend the local emergency for another 30 days within the next week.

"The risk to the general public is still low," said County public health officer Wilma Wooten, County public health officer. "This is an action taken that is meant to reassure the public that health authorities are proactively working to stay ahead of any challenges that may arise."

So far, San Diego has two confirmed cases of coronavirus. Those patients are under isolation at UC San Diego Medical Center.

According to Eric McDonald, medical director of the County’s Epidemiology and Immunization Branch, San Diego cases include:

  • Seven people are under investigation. Five of them have tested negative and two have tested positive;
  • Four non-San Diego residents who traveled to the region (but not Wuhan, China) monitored: Two tested negative and two have results still pending;
  • Monitored 171 people returning from China with no symptoms: 48 have been cleared after self quarantine, 123 people are still being monitored. None are under investigation;
  • Thirteen San Diegans were on flights next to people confirmed for coronavirus. Eight people have been cleared after two weeks, four people are still self-quarantined, and one person was a person under investigation who has since tested negative.

MCAS Miramar has hosted two flights of passengers being evacuated from the coronavirus zone in Wuhan, China. Those passengers have been staying at the base under a 14-day quarantine. Once that quarantine ends next week, low to medium risk individuals will be asked to self-quarantine at home.