Coronavirus patient mistakenly released from hospital back to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar quarantine

Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif. is being joined by several more military facilities around the country to host evacuees from the coronavirus outbreak in China.


By DON SWEENEY | The Sacramento Bee | Published: February 11, 2020

SAN DIEGO (Tribune News Service) — A San Diego hospital says it mistakenly released an evacuee from China with coronavirus Sunday after an incorrect all-clear from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The patient, who had been released back into quarantine at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, returned to the hospital after the positive results came back, UC San Diego Health reported.

Four patients who had been evacuated from Wuhan, China, epicenter of the outbreak, to the airbase to be quarantined had earlier been hospitalized with symptoms of the illness, health officials say.

The CDC notified San Diego public health officials Sunday that all four had tested negative for the virus, and they were returned to quarantine, UC San Diego Health reported.

“The patient left UC San Diego Health the same way they arrived, with all precautions taken,” hospital officials said in a statement, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. “The patient was wearing a mask per CDC instruction. The federal marshals transported the patient while wearing protection.”

But additional tests by the CDC revealed one of the four had the virus after all, officials said.

“This morning, CDC officials advised San Diego Public Health that further testing revealed that one of the four patients tested positive for (novel coronavirus),” UC San Diego Health said in a statement Monday. “The confirmed positive patient was returned to UC San Diego Health for observation and isolation until cleared by the CDC for release.”

Another evacuee who showed symptoms of the virus also was hospitalized Monday, health officials say.

The patient had arrived last week at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar along with other evacuees on a U.S. State Department flight, CNN reported. The evacuees are staying at the airbase during a 14-day quarantine period.

More than 42,000 people have come down with the virus, mostly in China, where more than 1,000 have died.

The San Diego case is the 13th confirmed in the United States and the third in California, CNN reported.

Public health officials say person-to-person transmission of the virus may be possible.

“At this time, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably this virus is spreading between people,” the CDC said.

Symptoms of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) include “mild to severe respiratory illness” with fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the CDC.

©2020 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.)

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