A doctor with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday evacuees from China quarantined at Miramar do not pose any danger to the greater San Diego Community.
“Based on our experience with other coronaviruses, we don’t believe these individual pose any danger to the community,” said Braden, who supervised quarantine facilities at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County and now the new one at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.
He said none of the passengers, who included infants and elderly, showed symptoms when they boarded the plane in China and when they landed in San Diego. However, four were later hospitalized for further observation.
The passengers are under the first federal quarantine order to be issued in 50 years. They are staying for 14 days in base housing, with families kept together. All are checked constantly for fever and respiratory symptoms.
“They are happy and relieved to be back in the United States. We are doing everything possible to care for them,” said Braden.
But he noted they were only allowed 79 pounds of luggage each and may be away from their homes in China for a long time.
He said any individual showing symptoms of the disease will be transferred to a local hospital and placed in isolation.
Braden said the virus is transmitted by respiratory droplets and its contagiousness is similar to the common flu. He said he will meet with patients daily, but keep a six-foot distance. Anyone getting closer, such as when taking a temperature, would need to wear a respirator to remain safe.
Miramar is one of six military facilities across the country that have been chosen to accommodate evacuees. Braden said Miramar could accommodate more than the current group.
The coronavirus epidemic has claimed at least 490 lives, with more than 24,000 infections documented in China. There have been 11 confirmed cases in the United States, including six in California, but no deaths.
Braden said he understood that American are concerned, but said the CDC doesn’t see any signs of the disease spreading here. “If there were ongoing community spread of this virus, we would know it, and that’s not happening,” he said.
Supervisor Greg Cox, who introduced Barden at the press conference, also sought to reassure San Diego residents.
“I want to reassure the public that we are working hand in hand with the Centers for Disease Control and the other federal agencies. Protecting the public’s health is the highers priority for the County of San Diego,” he said.
Updated at 9:50 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 2020
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