Judge blocks the transfer of coronavirus patients to a city in Southern California

A federal judge has temporarily blocked the transfer of people infected with the coronavirus to a city in Southern California until a hearing set for this week.

Posted: Feb 23, 2020 12:32 PM

(CNN) -- A federal judge has temporarily blocked the transfer of people infected with the coronavirus to a city in Southern California until a hearing set for this week.

Costa Mesa city filed legal action late Friday against the state of California and various federal agencies after it discovered they were planning to use Fairview Development Center to quarantine patients who've tested positive for the coronavirus.

It said the center is close to residential areas and not suitable to house the patients, citing a risk to public health.

"We learned late Thursday that patients could begin arriving as early as Sunday," Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley said in a statement. "Filing this injunction was the only way to halt the process to allow everyone in Costa Mesa and Orange County to understand the plans in place to protect the patients as well as our community and the region."

The judge's order prevents transportation of anyone infected with or exposed to the coronavirus anywhere in Costa Mesa before a Monday afternoon hearing at the federal courthouse in Santa Ana, the city said in a statement.

CNN affiliate KTLA reported that state health officials are working with federal authorities to find a place to house people evacuated from a quarantined cruise ship in Japan and taken to Travis Air Force Base in Northern California.

At least 35 people are infected with the coronavirus in the US, spreading fear that the disease that has killed 2,461 people worldwide, a majority in mainland China, will continue to grow.

"Our top priority is the safety and security of this community and those who live in this region," the city said in a statement. "We have received no information regarding how the facility will be prepared, what precautions will be taken to protect those in the facility as well as those who live nearby, and other important planning measures."

Costa Mesa is a city of 113,000 in Orange County. It's about 40 miles from Los Angeles.

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