Coronavirus Patients Face The Road Ahead With Nowhere To Go

Jeffrey Schaub
February 24, 2020 - 10:02 am
A cargo aircraft chartered by the U.S. government arrives from Japan carrying American citizens being evacuated from the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship, at Travis Air Force Base on February 16, 2020.

Philip Pacheco/Getty Images)

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Costa Mesa officials have gone to court to prevent the U.S. government from transferring 156 coronavirus patients to the Southern California city from Travis Air Force base in Fairfield.

Officials said there are currently not enough beds in Northern California hospitals equipped to care for people who have already become ill from the virus. Instead, they plan to move 50 passengers to an empty developmental site in Costa Mesa in Orange County.

But Costa Mesa officials said they will fight the plan, due to concerns for the health of their community. The city attorney successfully asked a judge to impose a restraining order.

Dr. Mark Schleiss, an infectious disease expert with the University of Minnesota medical school, said the government will now face challenges.

“This virus, it appears, is going to be firmly entrenched in the human population for some period of time,” Schleiss said.

He also said that as the virus continues to spread, officials are bound to come across a point where they will no longer be able to quarantine patients in public facilities.

“You can make attempts to quarantine, but I think we’ve seen from our experience these last few weeks, that quarantines really are not very successful,” Schleiss said.

The Centers for Disease Control said on Saturday, the Diamond Princess cruise ship passengers, currently quarantined at the Bay Area base, now have to leave. But as of now, there is nowhere they can safely go.

At a hearing Monday afternoon, a judge ordered federal, state and local officials to meet this week to untangle the dispute over the Costa Mesa site, the Los Angeles Times reported.