Miramar Marine base prepares to quarantine Americans returning from China


MCAS MIRAMAR, Calif. – The government has designated the Marine air base at Miramar as a quarantine location for flights carrying people who may have had contact with the coronavirus, but base officials said Monday that they have not been told when the first flight will arrive.

Over the weekend, the Department of Defense announced that Marine Corps Air Station Miramar was one of several military bases across the country that will each house about 250 Americans being evacuated from China.  The Pentagon approved the request from the Department Of Health And Human Services for facilities capable of housing at least 250 people in individual rooms through Feb. 29.

Base officials said the passengers will be housed in the  old bachelors’ quarters that once were used by officers. The building looks like a small hotel with comfortable-sized bedrooms. It even has a play area for children.  The quarantined passengers will be confined to the area to protect the rest of the population on base.

There was some confusion Sunday, when the office of Rep. Scott Peters issued a statement saying a group of American travelers from China would arrive at the base on Monday.  Base officials quickly clarified that no one has been quarantined on base so far and they have not been told when the first passengers will arrive.

Passengers traveling from China will be screened twice for signs of coronavirus and then held an additional 14 days to make sure they do not pose a health risk to the public. 

Meantime the very first  confirmed case of coronavirus here in the US , a man in Washington state, has been released from the hospital. His family is being closely screened. Ten other people who have been diagnosed with the virus in the US remain hospitalized.

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