The U.S. government said it would not send quarantined patients who had tested positive for coronavirus to a Southern Californian town that had gone to court to block the move.
The federal government said Friday that it had determined it does not need use of a site in Costa Mesa for quarantine purposes, after a federal judge temporarily barred the move.
The U.S. government had planned to use the state-owned Fairview Developmental Center to house people evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship who tested positive for coronavirus but who did not need hospital care.
Local officials in Costa Mesa filed a lawsuit against the move, arguing that federal and state officials did not coordinate with them before deciding on the facility. They described the Fairview Developmental Center as dilapidated and unable to handle patients with an infectious disease.
The facility had previously housed people with disabilities but is no longer in use.
A federal judge earlier this week blocked the plan to move patients to the facility until federal and state officials were able to answer questions about their plans to the residents of Costa Mesa.
“When decisions are made in a hurry, mistakes are made,” District Judge Josephine Staton said.
Nearby towns, including Newport Beach, Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach, filed a petition Thursday to support Costa Mesa. They argued that the proposed quarantine facility is in a residential area and that there had been little planning by state and local officials on how to protect the surrounding community from the virus.
Ultimate success unlikely
Legal experts said Costa Mesa would likely have not won in court, because cities usually cannot override the decisions of the state and federal government. A court hearing had been scheduled for next Monday.
More than 300 U.S. passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan have been evacuated and quarantined at U.S. military bases in Northern California and Texas.