First group of Americans who were quarantined at MCAS Miramar released

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – After spending two weeks under quarantine, 166 people who were evacuated from the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China, were released from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar Tuesday.

The Americans arrived at Miramar Feb. 5. A second plane carrying 65 more arrived at the base Feb. 7. They were all placed under a mandatory 14-day quarantine, during which they were carefully monitored to ensure they did not show symptoms of the virus, known officially as COVID-19.

Benjamin Haynes of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said another 60 evacuees will leave the base on Thursday.

Two of the evacuees at the Marine base have tested positive for the coronavirus — one from each plane that flew evacuees to the base. The pair are in isolation at UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest.

Four people from the first flight were initially hospitalized after arriving at the base because they showed possible symptoms of the disease.

Due to a miscommunication between UCSD Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the four patients were initially declared free of the virus and returned to quarantine at Miramar on Feb. 9. But tests confirmed the next day that the one patient had actually tested positive, and she was returned to the hospital and placed in isolation.

Health officials confirmed last Wednesday that a second patient contracted the illness. That patient was one of 65 people aboard the flight that landed at Miramar on Feb. 7.

Nearly 200 Americans arrived at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside on Jan. 29 and were quarantined there after being evacuated from Wuhan. That quarantine period ended on Feb. 11, with none of them showing any signs of the disease.

Worldwide, there have been more than 73,000 reported cases of the disease, which has killed more than 1,800 people, mostly in China.

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