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San Diego County Declares Public Health Emergency Over Coronavirus

Officials say the emergency is "out of an abundance of caution" and is a proactive measure.
Posted at 10:01 PM, Feb 14, 2020

San Diego County declared a local emergency and a public health emergency on Friday. Officials say it's a precautionary measure related to the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.

County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said the declaration is "out of an abundance of caution." The local emergency will last for seven days, but the county board will meet within a week to extend it for an additional 30 days. 

San Diego County Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten reiterated Friday that the risk to the general public is low. 

"This does not mean that there's any increased risk to the general public. In fact, it is quite the opposite. This is an action taken meant to reassure the public that health authorities are proactively working to stay ahead of any challenges that may arise."  

More than 200 Americans were evacuated from Wuhan, China, last week and taken to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego to complete a 14-day federal quarantine. Wooten said with the quarantine coming to an end next week, officials' focus is now on monitoring travelers arriving from other parts of China. She said these "low- to medium-risk individuals" will be on home quarantine and self-monitoring under the supervision of local health officials.

Two patients in San Diego County have tested positive for coronavirus. 

This outbreak is believed to have started in Wuhan, China. Fifteen people in seven U.S. states had tested positive for the virus as of Friday, according to the CDC. More than 63,000 people have it globally. In China, more than 1,000 people have died from the virus. 

Contains footage from CNN