Third group of cruise ship passengers arrives at Miramar for coronavirus quarantine
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – A third group of passengers from the Grand Princess cruise ship, on which at least 21 people tested positive for coronavirus, arrived Wednesday night at MCAS Miramar in San Diego for quarantine.
A total of 42 passengers from the Grand Princess cruise ship in Oakland were already under quarantine at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar due to possible coronavirus exposure.
More than 1,000 people on the ship — on which at least 21 people tested positive for coronavirus — disembarked Tuesday, with another 407 disembarking Monday.
The cruise ship, which had roughly 3,500 people aboard — with at least 900 of them Californians — was being held off the coast of Northern California before it was allowed to dock in Oakland on Monday.
The group of 42 Southern California residents who were aboard the ship arrived at the base around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday on a flight from Oakland to begin a 14-day quarantine, during which they will be monitored to determine if they develop any possible symptoms.
A second flight carrying a “larger” group of passengers is set to arrive Wednesday, according to MCAS Miramar. No details about the flight or its estimated arrival time have been disclosed.
Col. Charles Dockery, commanding officer of the base, 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 are expected to be 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 the 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.
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 had visited, but the location did not subject her to automatic 14-day quarantine when she returned — an indication she did not travel to high-danger countries 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 the woman.
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 health care 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.
Meanwhile, UC San Diego announced Monday it will move all lecture and discussion courses online starting March 25, due to fears of the coronavirus spreading.
The school also 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 campus will continue as scheduled but spectators will not be permitted, according to UCSD.
San Diego State University announced Tuesday that it will also begin transitioning all classes to virtual instruction as a precaution to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus.
There are no current cases of coronavirus in the SDSU community, but the university’s administration had begun encouraging faculty at the start of this month to consider moving course material and instruction into virtual spaces.
SDSU is offering training workshops for faculty to assist with the transition, which must be completed by April 6, according to an SDSU spokesperson. Until Tuesday, that move had been voluntary.
Following SDSU’s spring break, from March 30 to April 3, all classes will be held under virtual instruction through the end of the semester with some exceptions. The last day of classes is May 7.
The university will make decisions whether to host events on a case-by- case basis.