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MCAS Miramar Prepares To Quarantine Some Cruise Ship Passengers

 A sign at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar is shown in this photo, Feb. 5, 2020.
Matt Hoffman
A sign at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar is shown in this photo, Feb. 5, 2020.

UPDATE: 3:15 p.m., March 10, 2020:

San Diego County health officials on Monday confirmed the county's first presumptive positive case of coronavirus in a local resident.
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A portion of the more than 1,000 California residents aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship docked in Oakland could be on their way to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar Tuesday for a mandatory coronavirus quarantine.

The ship had been offshore pending test results that showed at least 21 of the 3,500 people aboard had tested positive for the illness, but it docked in the port of Oakland on Monday.


At least 1,000 of the passengers are Californians, and they will be held under a 14-day quarantine. Some of the passengers will be quarantined at Miramar, and others will be held at Travis Air Force Base northeast of Oakland.

It was not immediately clear when the passengers are scheduled to arrive at MCAS Miramar. County health officials said the first batch of passengers could be arriving by Tuesday afternoon and the second batch by Wednesday evening. In total, an estimated 400 people will be quarantined at Miramar.

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.

Meanwhile, San Diego County health officials on Monday 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 cautionary measures and sent any staff who may have been exposed 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," hospital staff said in a press release.

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.

After receiving an update from county public health officials Tuesday, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors has unanimously voted to continue the recently declared local health emergency in response to coronavirus and to form a subcommittee.

UC San Diego announced on Monday that 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.

The county also had two previous coronavirus cases from among more than 200 people who were being housed under quarantine at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar after being evacuated from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. Those two patients have both since recovered.