On Monday, February 24, 2020, the city of Costa Mesa was pleading that a judge block the State of California from moving people infected with the new coronavirus into a state-owned facility in the city, where they would remain in isolation while recovering. The proposed site for the infected is located at the Fairview Development Center in Costa Mesa, California. The Fairview Development Center serves people with developmental and intellectual disabilities, with the coronavirus being one of them. It was uncertain exactly how many people California intended to move into the facility in Costa Mesa, but they are among the 53 people in the United States who have tested positive for the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly all of those people had traveled to Asia, and many of them have been staying on American military bases since returning to the United States on government-arranged flights. Those infected under consideration to be transferred to the Fairview Development Center are located at Travis Air Force Base in Bakersfield, California.
Many people located all over the city are furious at the fact of having infected people transferred near their home. It is one thing to have people get sick in Costa Mesa, but it is another thing to transfer the infected into Costa Mesa. Jennifer L. Keller, a lawyer hired by Costa Mesa to try to block the transfer, said “you almost couldn’t pick a better disease vector,” given the Costa Mesa area’s popularity with tourists. Mary Ann Ngo, a local resident who stood outside the courthouse with a sign that read “Yes to compassion, no to mass infection,” she said. She prayed every day for the infected, and hoped that they would recover. “Still”, she said, “the Costa Mesa site is not an appropriate location.”
The standoff over where to send the patients underscored the unwieldy, decentralized nature of the U.S. health system, even as federal authorities were warning of serious risks from the coronavirus outbreak. Cities cannot generally refuse a state’s order to assist, but Costa Mesa intends to fight the proposal, no matter the cost.
Reporter: Myles Witte