No Coronavirus Cases Found in First Group of Evacuated Americans: Officials

February 10, 2020 Updated: February 10, 2020
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No one from the first group of Americans who were evacuated from Wuhan, China, has tested positive for the novel (new) coronavirus, said health officials in Southern California.

Riverside County Health Officials said that “to date,” none of the 195 evacuees who were being held in medical isolation at the March Air Reserve Base have contracted the virus.

“Two individuals with symptoms were retested and also found to be negative, and have since recovered,” Public Health Officer Cameron Kaiser said in a statement carried by the Riverside County Public Health Department and local media outlets on Monday.

The passengers arrived at the airbase after being flown from Wuhan via a chartered State Department flight. Reports have said that many of the passengers work for the State Department or are relatives of the agency’s employees.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) implemented a 14-day quarantine for the evacuees. The quarantine expires next week.

“People who have not developed symptoms will have successfully completed their quarantine and will be free to leave the base,” Kaiser added.

Wuhan-Coronavirus-U.S.-Citizens-Evacuation
An airplane carrying U.S. citizens being evacuated from Wuhan, China, lands at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, Calif., on Jan. 29, 2020. (Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP Photo)

During the quarantine, two children developed fevers and were transported to the Riverside University Medical Center before they were placed under medical isolation and were accompanied by their respective parents, health officials told the Times of San Diego. Days later, the children and their parents were then allowed to return to the airbase after medical testing revealed they didn’t have coronavirus.

Kaiser said that some people have exhibited inappropriate behavior amid concerns about the virus, saying they have made “hurtful” comments to staffers at March Airbase “in person and on social media,” the paper reported.

“A few base workers have even been accosted in uniform. This is not acceptable and needs to stop,” said Kaiser.

It comes about two days after the State Department announced that more than 800 Americans and U.S. lawful permanent residents returned to the United States after leaving Wuhan.

Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said all returning citizens and permanent residents will be screened for the virus in an attempt to prevent it from spreading inside the United States.

“Yesterday, two flights from Wuhan carrying U.S. citizens, their immediate family members, and U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents safely landed in the United States,” Ortagus said, according to the Washington Examiner. “As with the other recent evacuation flights, all passengers will be carefully screened and monitored by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services.”

The CDC has confirmed 12 cases of coronavirus in the United States, including in California, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Illinois, Arizona, and Washington state.