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Judge allows Costa Mesa to block transfer of coronavirus patients to the California city

Coronavirus update: U.S. prepares for spread

Costa Mesa, California – A federal judge on Friday allowed Costa Mesa to block the transfer of coronavirus patients to the California city, CBS Los Angeles reports. The judge granted the city's temporary restraining order requesting to block confirmed coronavirus patients from being transferred.

Federal court papers filed Friday said the federal government planned to transfer the patients from Travis Air Force Base near Sacramento to the former Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa on Sunday or Monday. On Thursday night, Costa Mesa city officials began hearing of the plan by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to move between 30 and 50 patients to the state-owned land.

Some of the patients are from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which had been quarantined in Japan due to an onboard outbreak of cases. 

As of Friday the CDC had confirmed 35 cases of coronavirus in the United States

Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley said the city was surprised to learn that the Fairview Developmental Center was being considered for a group of patients who have tested positive for coronavirus, and city leaders filed an injunction to block the transfer in an effort to protect residents.

"We have a lot of activity in the area," she said. "So, it's not the kind of area that's isolated and that would be appropriate for quarantining people who have an infectious disease."

The biggest concern was the lack of information, despite the fact that the patients were expected to arrive in a matter of days, said Costa Mesa fire chief Dan Stefano.

"There has not been an information flow, and in a situation like that, for us, it creates the greatest concern," he said.

While it is known that the patients are California residents and some may be coming from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, city manager Loriann Farrell Harrison said the city needs to know more before feeling comfortable with the transfer.

"The reason that we have followed through with an injunction is because we don't have a lot of information. We would like to know more about who the individuals are," she said.

According to the injunction, the city of Costa Mesa seeks to stop the transfer until "an adequate site survey has been conducted, the designated site has been determined suitable for this purpose, all necessary safeguards and precautions have been put in place, and the public and local government have been informed of all efforts to mitigate risk of transmission of the disease."

The temporary injunction holds off the transfer of patients until Monday, when a federal judge will hear the case.

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