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LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 (coronavirus)

San Diego County Extends Coronavirus Emergency Declaration For 30 Days

San Diego County Board of Supervisors in chamber on Feb. 19, 2020.

Credit: County of San Diego

Above: San Diego County Board of Supervisors in chamber on Feb. 19, 2020.

UPDATE: 8:11 A.M., Feb. 20, 2020

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted Wednesday to ratify and extend an emergency declaration for the coronavirus for an additional 30 days.

The county first declared a local health emergency and a general emergency on Friday to deal with the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. Officials, however, insist the risk to the public remains low.

“While these actions do not signify any increase in risk to our residents, it does clearly signify our vigilance and commitment to doing everything we can to protect the public,” Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said in a statement.

Some 166 people were released from quarantine at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar on Tuesday. They were the first group of Americans evacuated to the base from Wuhan, China, where the COVID-19 outbreak started. Roughly 63 from the second group of evacuees are expected to be released from quarantine Thursday.

Listen to this story by Matt Hoffman.

RELATED: San Diego Declares Emergency Over Coronavirus In ‘Abundance Of Caution’

Two of the evacuees tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. One has recovered and released Wednesday. The other is being treated at UC San Diego Health. One child is under observation at Rady Children’s Hospital because they are showing symptoms.

There are no signs the virus is spreading in San Diego, county officials said.

“I believe this declaration is an act of proactive protection for our community to prevent the preventable, said Dr. Nick Yphantides, county chief medical officer.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, believes the United States will be hit by the novel coronavirus over the next year. This is what local health officials are preparing for.

By declaring the emergency, the county can tap into available supplies and mutual aid. The declaration allows the county to better respond globally. The county is also working to increase bed space at local hospitals. The emergency declaration also allows the county to pursue reimbursement for costs from the state and federal governments.

Meanwhile, the county is monitoring people who recently traveled to China. These travelers, who are deemed low to medium risk, will be home quarantined and self-monitored under the supervision of the county health department. So far 248 people who traveled to China have been referred to health officials and 81 of those have cleared quarantine.

The Board of Supervisors could continue to extend the emergency until the crisis is declared over.

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