Feb 11, 2020 - Health

U.S. evacuee with coronavirus initially discharged from hospital

Personnel in biological hazard suits welcome passengers evacuated from Wuhan

Personnel in biological hazard suits welcome passengers evacuated from Wuhan, China, at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County, California. Photo: Matt Hartman/AFP via Getty Images

An evacuee from Wuhan, China, who became the 13th person in the U.S. to be infected with the novel coronavirus, was initially mistakenly released from a California hospital, UC San Diego Health said in a statement Monday.

Details: Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told San Diego Public Health "four patients being evaluated for 2019-nCoV at UC San Diego Health had tested negative for the virus," according to the statement. They were discharged and returned to federal quarantine at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar "at the CDC's direction," it said.

  • "[F]urther testing revealed that one of the four patients tested positive for 2019-nCoV," CDC officials advised San Diego Public Health on Monday morning, and the person was returned to the hospital for observation and isolation until cleared by the CDC for release," per the statement.
  • UC San Diego Health said another patient from MCAS Miramar with possible coronavirus symptoms was admitted to the hospital on Monday afternoon for evaluation, where they will remain until the CDC confirms test results.
  • "Both patients are doing well and have minimal symptoms," the statement added.

What they're saying: The CDC confirmed to Axios in a statement earlier that the evacuee had become the 13th person to contract the novel coronavirus in the U.S.

  • "CDC is conducting a thorough contact investigation of the person who has tested positive to determine contacts and to assess if those contacts had high risk exposures," the statement added.

The big picture: The infected California patient was one of hundreds of people evacuated to the U.S. from Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, on four State Department-chartered flights in the past few weeks.

  • The virus has now killed more than 1,000 people, all but two in mainland China, and infected more than 43,000 people.

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Editor's note: This article has been updated with comments by UC San Diego Health and more context.

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