Five Americans quarantined at an Air Force base in Fairfield, California during the coronavirus outbreak—after being evacuated from Wuhan, China—have been relocated to hospitals after experiencing symptoms that resembled the virus, according to a spokesperson for the Centers for Disease Control and Protection.
“These individuals arrived this week on Wednesday and Friday,” said CDC spokesperson Jason McDonald. “One of them came on Wednesday, and the other four arrived on Friday. They were all screened for fever, and these individuals exhibited symptoms.”
The quarantined population arrived at Travis Air Force Base in California this week after hundreds of Americans were evacuated from Wuhan on Friday. McDonald said all the quarantined individuals had undergone evaluation for fever and a host of other symptoms. He did not know what other medical evaluations had been performed. After the five individuals appeared to have high temperatures, they were relocated to health care providers in the area. McDonald declined to disclose where the patients were now being treated.
“At these secondary facilities, they will be tested for a range of common ailments that could lead to a diagnosis that may be causing those symptoms,” McDonald said. “If it’s not one of the common causes, they will be tested for coronavirus...We’re looking for symptoms of coronavirus, including fever, coughing, and difficulty breathing.”
According to McDonald, the remaining quarantined evacuees have been housed in a temporary lodging facility that the Travis Air Force Base made available, called the Westwind Inn. McDonald confirmed that as of Friday, 234 individuals were under quarantine, including the five ill patients.
“There’s a lot of understanding,” McDonald said about the quarantined population, “A lot of relief to be back in the U.S. Based on the times I’ve been there this week, morale is high.”
The news of the five potential victims arrives just hours after The New York Times reported the first American death from the virus in Wuhan. Few details about the deceased, reportedly a woman, were made available, but the U.S. Embassy did confirm to the Times that the victim was roughly 60 years old, had underlying health conditions, and died at the Jinyintan Hospital in Wuhan.
At the same time, diagnoses of coronavirus on a cruise ship called the Diamond Princess, quarantined off the coast of Japan, have spiked in the past few days. On Friday, the ship had confirmed more than 60 cases on board, including several Americans.
The novel virus has sent the medical community on edge as researchers hunt for a cure and the death toll ticks upward. China’s National Health Commission told CNN this morning that they had confirmed 34,546 total cases of the virus and 722 deaths, 86 of them on Friday alone, making it mainland China’s deadliest day since December.