Judge blocks health officials from moving 50 patients with coronavirus to California city

Judge blocks health officials from moving 50 patients with coronavirus to California city
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A federal judge has temporarily blocked state and federal officials from moving as many as 50 Americans infected with the coronavirus to a city in southern California for quarantine.

U.S. District Judge Josephine Stanton, an Obama appointee, issued an order late Friday to prevent the transfer of coronavirus patients from Travis Air Force Base in Northern California to Costa Mesa in Orange County. The patients were previously quarantined on a cruise ship in Japan after a mini-outbreak on the vessel.

Local officials argued before the court that the federal government’s plan did not include sufficient protections from the virus for residents. They swiftly sought court intervention after being informed by the state government of plans to move patients to a state-owned facility in Costa Mesa as soon as Sunday.

Officials also said in court documents that local authorities were not informed of the federal government’s plans or told why the Costa Mesa site was selected.

“The city has not been part of any of the process that led to the consideration of the site, and it would be unfair to not include us in this kind of significant decision that has great impact on our community,” Mayor Katrina Foley told the Orange County Register.

The California Health and Human Services Agency said in a statement to The Associated Press that it was cooperating with federal officials to find a place to put the patients.