One Patient Quarantined at Point Mugu Naval Base
Ventura County Public Health Officer Robert Levin, Dr. Robert McDonald of CDC, and Jeanne Eckes of HHS (Credit: KEYT Livestream)
By edhat staff
Officials confirmed one person is being quarantined at Ventura County's Naval Base at Point Mugu due to concerns of the novel-coronavirus (COVID-19).
Ventura County Public Health Officer Robert Levin was joined by officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to discuss the current status on Wednesday afternoon.
Dr. Robert McDonald, CDC Medical Officer assigned to Point Mugu, stated on Sunday, February 23, a traveler from Los Angeles Airport (LAX) was placed under federal quarantine and transferred to Point Mugu. He stressed the traveler has not been diagnosed with COVID-19, is asymptomatic, and does not pose a threat to the community.
The male traveler had recently visited the Hubei Province in China and traveled by train to Beijing before boarding a commercial flight to LAX. The traveler was intercepted due to Homeland Security tracking any passengers arriving in the United States who visited areas with high rates of infection. Passengers go through several screenings before being quarantined for public safety.
The traveler is currently housed in a building on the Point Mugu Naval Base and is expected to complete a full 14 days before being released if no signs or symptoms of illness develop. His condition is being monitored daily with temperature taken twice a day. Dr. McDonald confirmed if symptoms arise, the individual would be immediately transported to a local hospital, possibly St. John's in Oxnard, as part of their pre-planned methods.
Jeanne Eckes, HHS Incident Manager, confirmed the traveler is not in solitary confinement and is staying in a hotel-like building that's fenced off from the rest of the Naval Base. He is able to roam freely in the building and the courtyard while having constant access to medical attention, food, and human services. All HHS and CDC staff who interact with the traveler are wearing protective gear.
When asked by reporters, Eckes confirmed the traveler is a United States Citizen but does not live in California. He was intercepted at LAX before being able to return home.
Point Mugu was chosen as a quarantine location due to its proximity to LAX. Eckes confirmed a number of other military bases did not have available space but Ventura had a lodging area capable of accepting up to 20 people. Point Mugu will continue to be on standby to receive more patients as the situation is re-evaluated.
Ventura County Public Health Officer Robert Levin did his best to ease concerns by stating the fatality rate for COVID-19 is 1.6% outside of China and 3.4% in China comparing this to SARS which had 11% and MERS-COV at 34%.
"While not to be taken lightly, this infectious disease is not EBOLA, SARS, or MERS-COV," said Levin. He went on to state this may be a test of our humanity asking what if it was you or one of your loved ones who needed quarantine.
McDonald did not answer any questions regarding the global or national state of COVID-19, specifically questions to this being a potential pandemic that has dominated headlines in the past day. He continued to advise people to wash their hands and take all other flu prevention precautions while checking CDC.gov for more information.
"You should not be on high alert, we don't have any cases identified as having this disease right now," said Levin.
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