By Sandra G. Leon
Two of the Americans evacuated from Wuhan China that arrived at MCAS Miramar last week have been confirmed to have the coronavirus, and a third patient with symptoms is still being monitored. The World Health Organization is now calling the virus COVID-19.
A chartered 747 jumbo jet landed at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar last week carrying 187 Americans evacuated from China under fear of exposure to the Coronavirus.
The evacuees were to be held for at least 14 days during the highly contagious virus’ full incubation period. US Center for Disease Control (CDC) staff examined the individuals and determined that four of them needed additional treatment; two adults were taken to UCSD Medical Center, and one adult and one child were transferred to Rady’s Children’s Hospital.
A female patient with the first confirmed case was among four of the quarantined individuals taken to UC Medical Center last week. That patient is now being held in isolation at the hospital. On Sunday, she was mistakenly returned to the quarantine area at MCAS Miramar when a mix-up in test results labeled her as negative for coronavirus. After the mistake was discovered by the CDC, she was returned to US Medical Center.
On Thursday it was announced that a second case was confirmed, and a third was suspected. The San Diego patients now push the total of confirmed coronavirus in the U.S to 15, eight of those being in California.
“We continue to believe the immediate risk of coronavirus exposure to the general public is low, however, CDC is undertaking these measures to help keep that risk low,” the agency said in a statement released the day after the flight arrived from China.
While at the bases, the individuals will be monitored for symptoms of the virus by CDC staff and will be provided food and supplies by the US Health and Human Services Department. No military personnel will be used to handle the individuals under the quarantines.
The coronavirus has already claimed at least 1,370 lives, while more than 60,000 people have been infected worldwide. The respiratory illness, much like the more common flu, is treatable but is especially dangerous for the sick, elderly, and young children.
The flight to Miramar was one of several that have taken Americans evacuated from the Wuhan area of China to US military based chosen as quarantine sites. Miramar, along with March Air Base in Riverside, Travis Air Base in Northern California, Lackland Air Base in Texas, the 168th Regiment Regional Training Institute in Colorado, and Camp Ashland, a National Guard base in Nebraska, were chosen because they can each hold up to 250 people without affecting military operations at those bases.