2 more coronavirus evacuees evaluated at local hospitals

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SAN DIEGO — Two additional people who arrived at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar Wednesday after being evacuated from the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China, have been taken to a local hospital for evaluation, officials said Friday.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one child was taken to Rady Children’s Hospital and one adult was taken to UC San Diego Health after developing a fever or cough.

Of the 167 people who arrived at MCAS Miramar on Wednesday, seven had been taken to hospitals for evaluation by Friday afternoon.

Two of those patients who were initially taken to Rady Children’s Hospital — one child and one adult — tested negative for coronavirus, the CDC said. Frank Wucinski and his three-year-old daughter were allowed to return to MCAS Miramar Friday and given what they had been through the previous weeks, Wucinski said “we hadn’t seen green grass or blue skies or anything like that in a long time so this is nice.”

While they have both been cleared, there is still a sense of fear looming for Wucinski, who had to leave his wife behind in China.

“My wife has the virus and my father-in-law has the virus, so definitely there’s fear there,” Wucinski said.

The test results for the other patients were still pending, officials said Friday.

A second plane transporting 65 people from Wuhan arrived at MCAS Miramar Friday morning. Like the first group of evacuees who arrived Wednesday, the new arrivals will be required to stay in quarantine at living facilities on base for 14 days as health officials monitor them for potential coronavirus symptoms.

According to the CDC, none of those 65 passengers had displayed symptoms associated with coronavirus as of Friday afternoon.

CDC officials said they would continue to monitor the passengers throughout the quarantine and transport those who develop a fever or cough to a local hospital for coronavirus testing.

Local health officials said Thursday the hospitals to which patients from the quarantine site at MCAS Miramar are transported do not pose safety risks to the public.

“Nobody who comes to Rady or UCSD has to worry at all, even if the patients test positive — which is unlikely,” said Dr. John Bradley, medical director of infectious diseases at Rady. “We have really good isolation policies and they are in special rooms designed for Ebola, which is far worse than coronavirus.”

In addition to the space cleared for potential coronavirus patients at UC San Diego Health and Rady Children’s Hospital, officials at Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa said the facility had rooms prepared in the event that more space is needed to treat patients under evaluation for the virus.

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