Judge temporarily blocks Costa Mesa facility from planned use as coronavirus quarantine site

COSTA MESA, Calif. (KABC) -- A federal judge on Friday granted a temporary restraining order against the usage of a Costa Mesa facility as a possible quarantine site for coronavirus patients.

The city filed court papers seeking the emergency restraining order after learning that the Fairview Developmental Center was being considered by federal officials as a possible quarantine facility.

The court papers state that the federal government had planned to transfer as many as 50 coronavirus patients from Travis Air Force Base, where they have been under quarantine, to Fairview on Sunday.

According to the court papers, federal authorities informed the city on Thursday that the patients would be transferred as early as Sunday, Feb. 23. The restraining order prohibits the transfer before a hearing on Monday at 2 p.m.

News of the plan has residents on edge and city leaders taking action. The mayor says the city was blindsided, learning about the plan Thursday night. The city said it was not included in the planning process for the transfer of patients.

"Our top priority is the safety and security of this community and those who live in this region," Mayor Katrina Foley said in a statement. "We have received no information regarding how the facility will be prepared, what precautions will be taken to protect those in the facility as well as those who live nearby, and other planning measures."

The site, which is owned by the state of California, is located near several residential neighborhoods.

It had previously been used to treat patients with mental health issues, according to the city's court filings, which describe the building as "an inappropriate location for a quarantine, as there is no way to restrict access to or from the facility."

Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control is preparing for the virus to become a pandemic. Health officials say there are 35 confirmed cases of the virus in the United States, including at least 18 Americans who returned home from a quarantined cruise ship earlier this week.
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