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Judge Extends Block On Transfer Of Coronavirus Patients To Costa Mesa

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A federal judge today extended a temporary restraining order preventing the transfer of coronavirus patients to Costa Mesa for at least another week.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Josephine Staton came three days after she granted an emergency restraining order at the request of city officials.

“While we have nothing but compassion for those who are suffering from this virus, the health and welfare of our community is our top priority," Mayor Katrina Foley said in a statement issued after the ruling. "Bringing those infected into this densely populated area is simply the wrong approach.”

City officials said they needed more time to get what they called "critical information" from federal officials.

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The federal plan is to use Fairview Development Center, which is a state care facility slated for closure. [It's also been named by Gov. Gavin Newsom as a location to house homeless people.]

Foley said the facility is located in a residential area and is also close to business, parks, and colleges. And that's concerning, she said, given questions about how easily the virus spreads.

Among answers Costa Mesa officials said today they are still seeking:

  • What the lead agencies involved in the transfer and oversight would be.
  • How media requests would be handled and how emergencies will be communicated.
  • What conditions at the facility and how repairs will be handled "given the aging and obsolete infrastructure."

Prior to today's extension:

  • Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley said no one consulted them. She said they were blindsided to learn about a plan to transfer coronavirus patients to their town.
  • Foley said their first notice came in an after-hours call Thursday to the emergency services manager. That call informed the city that patients would start arriving Sunday.
  • That's when they sought, and were granted, the temporary restraining order.

"We don't have any answers," Foley told us on Sunday. "Okay, we've heard a whole lot of speculation. So the number keeps changing the level of illness changes. And nobody seems to be able to nail down what exactly is the plan."
GO DEEPER:

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This post originally published at 8:23 a.m. It was updated with the outcome of the hearing.