Mayor Kevin Faulconer issues State of Emergency for City of San Diego amid coronavirus outbreak
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Governor Gavin Newsom appeared to confirm Thursday that one of the passengers from the Grand Princess cruise ship in quarantine at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar has tested positive for novel coronavirus.
“We are aware of a number of people who have tested positive that have come off ship in addition to the 21 who were originally tested,” Gov. Newsom said. “Two that were passengers, 19 that were crew members, one in Canada and one down in Miramar, but that information is coming in real time. That’s all I know about those individuals at this stage.”
Calls to San Diego County health officials, MCAS Miramar and Scripps Health were not returned.
Meanwhile, a Marine stationed at MCAS Miramar has tested positive for the virus after visiting family in Washington.
There are now 5 new cases of coronavirus in San Diego County. San Diego County leaders held a press conference (above) detailing the coronavirus pandemic in the San Diego region.
They are following Governor Newsom’s guidance, banning all mass gatherings with more than 250 people. This includes private and public events, races, banquets, conferences, and social gatherings. Furthermore, gatherings with less than 250 people will need to follow the 6-foot-rule, or not hold the event at all.
All public buildings in San Diego County are closed to visitors. And lastly, San Diego County leaders have advised everyone over the age of 65-years-old to cancel their travel, prioritize staying at home, and avoid public gatherings.
More than 300 passengers from the Grand Princess cruise ship in Oakland will remain at MCAS Miramar on Thursday as part of a mandatory 14-day quarantine period at the base. The roughly 270 cruise ship evacuees arrived at the base Wednesday afternoon, joining 42 passengers who arrived at the base Tuesday.
The total number expected to be housed on the base is around 400, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported, but it was not immediately clear when the rest of the cruise ship evacuees were expected to arrive.
More than 1,000 people on the cruise ship — on which at least 21 people tested positive for the virus — disembarked Tuesday, with another 407 disembarking Monday.
The ship, which had roughly 3,500 people aboard — at least 900 of them Californians — was held off the coast of Northern California before it was allowed to dock in Oakland on Monday.
Tuesday’s group of 42 Southern California residents who were aboard the ship arrived at MCAS Miramar around 9:30 p.m. on a flight from Oakland to begin a 14-day quarantine, during which they will be monitored to determine if they develop any symptoms.
Col. Charles Dockery, commanding officer MCAS Miramar, sent a letter to Marines, sailors and their families.
“The broad concept of our support will be the same as our previous efforts,” he wrote. “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.”
Other California residents from the cruise ship will be housed at Travis Air Force Base northeast of Oakland.
Cruise ship passengers who are residents of other states were being taken to Joint Base San Antonio Lackland in Texas or Dobbins Air Force Base in Georgia.
This is the second time Miramar has been used as a quarantine facility due to coronavirus. More than 200 people who were evacuated from Wuhan, China — the epicenter of the outbreak — were housed at the facility last month. Two of those people eventually tested positive for the virus, but they were hospitalized and have since recovered and been released.
The World Health Organization declared the outbreak of COVID-19 — the disease caused by the virus — a “pandemic” on Wednesday due to its worldwide reach and impact.
President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that his administration is restricting passenger travel from 26 European nations to the U.S. for 30 days beginning late Friday. The travel ban includes France, Italy, Germany, Greece, Austria and Belgium — among others — but the restrictions won’t apply to the United Kingdom.
On Monday, San Diego County health officials confirmed the county’s first presumptive positive case of coronavirus in a local resident, who is being treated at Scripps Green Hospital.
The case is considered a presumptive positive until test results are confirmed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Scripps has taken precautionary measures and sent any staff who may have been exposed to the illness to home quarantine with hospital support.
“Scripps Green Hospital and the adjacent Scripps Clinic Torrey Pines are safe for patient care and all appointments and procedures are continuing as usual at both facilities,” according to a hospital statement.
Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s health officer, said the patient is a woman in her 50s, and the infection is related to “overseas travel.” County officials did not specify what country the patient visited, but the location did not subject her to automatic 14-day quarantine when she returned — an indication she did not travel to a high-danger country such as China or Italy.
Wooten said the patient is hospitalized and “doing well.” She said health officials are continuing to investigate to determine who may have come into contact with her.
Dr. Eric McDonald of the county’s Epidemiology Immunization Branch said there is a “household contact,” and that person is under a self- quarantine, and some healthcare workers may have been exposed. McDonald said the patient became sick and was hospitalized, and eventually met the criteria to be tested for coronavirus, leading to the positive result.
He said there is not believed to have been any contact with the “general public.”
Although the patient is considered the county’s first coronavirus case, the illness has had a presence in the San Diego area. Last week, authorities confirmed that a person who works at an AT&T retail store in Chula Vista had tested positive for the illness, prompting the temporary closure of some AT&T stores in the area. That patient was not considered a San Diego County case because the person actually lives in Orange County.
The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency announced Monday it had placed hand-washing stations in more than 80 locations around the county to help people experiencing homelessness have a way to improve hygiene and prevent spread of the respiratory illness. It also announced it was sending outreach teams to places with a high unsheltered population to provide information about COVID-19 and hygiene kits.
UC San Diego announced Monday that it will move all lecture and discussion courses online starting March 25, and SDSU announced Tuesday that it will begin transitioning all classes to virtual instruction by April 6.
SDSU will make decisions whether to host events on a case-by-case basis, while UCSD advised that events expected to have more than 100 people will be canceled, and any campus tours or other events that bring visitors to campus will be canceled for groups of more than 15 people.
Athletic events on the UCSD campus will continue as scheduled but spectators will not be permitted, according to UCSD.