A Southern California city is banning people who were on the coronavirus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship from entering their town
- Leaders of Costa Mesa, California, are blocking COVID-19 patients from being transferred to a nearly-empty hospital in the Southern California city.
- A US district judge issued the restraining order last week and extended it until Monday, during which time state and federal officials will share more of their plans regarding housing patients in Costa Mesa.
- The CDC said federal health officials had no plans to transfer the patients, and that talks to do so were "preparatory."
- The 30 to 50 patients who would be transferred were passengers aboard the Diamond Princess, a cruise ship whose quarantine resulted in 42 of the 57 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the US.
- The transferred patients would be those exhibiting moderate, not severe, symptoms who have not received CDC confirmation testing positive for the virus but likely will based on estimated rates of infection.
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City officials in Costa Mesa, California, are blocking patients being tested for the coronavirus disease COVID-19 from being transferred to a nearly empty hospital within the Orange County city from a Bay Area air force base.
On February 21, US District Judge Josephine Staton in Costa Mesa - a town in Southern California about 40 miles southeast of Los Angeles - issued a restraining order blocking the transfer of these patients from the Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California, to the Fairview Developmental Center, a California-owned hospital in Costa Mesa once used to house residents with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
The city said in a press release that federal officials did not formally work with city leaders on the transfer of patients to the Costa Mesa facility. The Fairview facility is also surrounded by several residential neighborhoods in a heavily populated area.
"Our top priority is the safety and security of this community and those who live in this region," Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley said in the press release. "We have received no information regarding how the facility will be prepared, what precautions will be taken to protect those in the facility as well as those who live nearby, and other important planning measures."
Motivated by concerned city residents, the judge approved the restraining order temporarily on February 21 and has extended it this week. The order is in place until Monday. In the meantime, state and federal authorities will share more about their plans to house the patients in the Costa Mesa community.
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A CDC spokesperson told the Sacramento Bee that federal health officials had no hard plans to move forward with the transfer and that conversation to do so was merely "preparatory."
The proposed plan would involve moving about 30 to 50 people from the Travis Air Force Base to the Costa Mesa facility.
The patients, many of whom are reportedly California residents, were passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship and are being tested for the coronavirus disease, or COVID-19.
The Diamond Princess cruise ship had been quarantined for 14 days after a man who had been on the ship tested positive for the coronavirus on February 1.
After returning from the quarantine aboard the cruise ship, about 150 passengers were brought to Fairfield's Travis Air Force Base for an additional government-mandated quarantine.
California state attorneys told the Chronicle that Costa Mesa's restraining order is "based on speculation and unfounded internet fear" that is preventing cruise ship evacuees who have tested positive for the virus from receiving shelter.
Only the patients who have the virus with mild symptoms that don't require hospital treatment would be transferred, the state said.
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