A flight carrying U.S. citizens who had been passengers on the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan arrived about 11:30 p.m. at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, where they will be quarantined for two weeks.
“At present there are 171 additional passengers on the installation,” Travis officials said in a statement. “This number does not include the previous two cohorts of evacuees from China, who arrived on Feb. 5 and Feb. 7 and have been observing their separate 14-day quarantine.”
The evacuees had been tested and determined to show no symptoms of the coronavirus. But 14 later tested positive for tested positive for COVID-19, now the official name of the virus, but were allowed on the flight and were “moved in the most expeditious and safe manner to a specialized containment area on the evacuation aircraft to isolate them in accordance with standard protocols,” according to a joint statement from the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Travis officials said the passengers who tested positive would be taken to a separate location off of the base for continued isolation and care. Any other passenger showing symptoms will be taken to an off-base hospital for containment and specialized care, officials said, noting the Centers for Disease Control is in charge of the quarantine and that base personnel would have no contact with the passengers.
“Every precaution to ensure proper isolation and community protection measures are being taken,” Travis officials said. “The safety and security of our Team Travis members and their families remain our highest priority.”
Other evacuees were to be taken to Joint Base San Antonio in Texas, according to the joint statement.
Monterey County issued a statement late Sunday saying that local officials had been notified by state and federal authorities to prepare for the possibility of passengers with the virus being brought to Camp Roberts, located in San Luis Obispo and Monterey counties.
“Passengers who test positive for COVID-19 but no longer require hospitalization may be sent to Camp Roberts for the remainder of their isolation period,” according to the statement. “There no certainty at this time that passengers with novel coronavirus (COVID-19) from the Diamond Princess cruise ship will be arriving at Camp Roberts,” the Monterey County Health Department said in the statement.
“We understand that a federal team will provide the staffing, food, and medical care at Camp Roberts,” said Dr. Edward Moreno, Monterey County Health Officer. “The Monterey County Health Department is working to ensure that we protect the health and well-being of Monterey County residents.”
County officials stressed that there are currently no cases of COVID-19 in the county and that any risk to residents is low.