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Update: Feds back off coronavirus isolation at Camp Roberts 

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—The County of San Luis Obispo Public Health Officer received notice last evening that federal authorities are no longer considering Camp Roberts as a potential site to house any returning travelers who may or may not be infected with novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the health department reported Monday at 11:15 a.m.

Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein said, “We remain prepared to work with federal and state partners should future decisions turn back to Camp Roberts as a resource.” Dr. Borenstein also expressed her appreciation and admiration for “the prompt and professional response shown by our local hospitals, EMS providers, and County personnel.”

Over the weekend, San Luis Obispo County health officials met with Supervisor John Peschong and other local leaders to discuss the potential arrival of victims with Coronavirus. Supervisor Peschong also had discussions Sunday with Supervisor Chris Lopez of southern Monterey County about the potential arrival of victims of the Coronavirus. Federal officials discussed plans to transport by helicopter victims of the deadly virus from Travis Air Force Base to the Monterey County side of Camp Roberts. A number of drills and exercises were carried out over the weekend at Camp Roberts to prepare for the potential handling of infected victims. Monday morning, however, federal health officials decided to keep those Coronavirus victims quarantined at Travis Air Force Base. None of them will be transported to Camp Roberts.

Original report, Feb. 16, 2020:

Monterey and SLO County health officials prepare for possibility of coronavirus isolation at Camp Roberts

—The San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department and Monterey County Health Department both issued news releases Sunday titled, “Officials prepare for possibility of coronavirus isolation at Camp Roberts.”

The joint announcements went on to say, “there is no certainty at this time that passengers with novel coronavirus (COVID-19) from the Diamond Princess cruise ship will be arriving at Camp Roberts.”

“However, local officials have been advised by state and federal authorities to prepare for the possibility that passengers who test positive for COVID-19 but no longer require hospitalization may be sent to Camp Roberts for the remainder of their isolation period. The county is actively involved in coordinating with state, federal and local partners – including the County of Monterey – to protect the health and well-being of local residents.”

See related story on Paso Robles woman being evacuated from the cruise ship on Sunday.

“We understand that a federal team will provide the staffing, food, and medical care at Camp Roberts,” said County of San Luis Obispo Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein and Monterey County Health Officer Dr. Edward Moreno. “The County of San Luis Obispo Public Health Department is working to ensure that we protect the health and well-being of San Luis Obispo County residents,” Borenstein said.

There are currently no cases of COVID-19 in San Luis Obispo or Monterey counties and the risk to residents remains low, the health departments report.

Camp Roberts is a military training base just north of Paso Robles, located in both San Luis Obispo and Monterey Counties. The County of San Luis Obispo will provide updates as more information becomes available.

Original news release from San Luis Obispo County Health, Jan. 29, 2020:

The County of San Luis Obispo Public Health Department, along with other local health departments, is in close contact with state and federal health officials who are closely monitoring a rapidly expanding outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (named COVID-2019).

The novel coronavirus was first identified December 2019, in Wuhan, China. While the vast majority of cases of this novel coronavirus, also known as COVID19, are in mainland China, other cases have been identified in a growing number of other international locations, including the United States.The CDC expects more cases are likely to be identified in the coming days, including more cases in the United States.

To date, there is no widespread transmission occuring in the United States, and there are no cases of this novel coronavirus reported in San Luis Obispo County.

The County Public Health Department is taking action to protect the public. This includes keeping our local health care providers and hospitals informed by providing consultation and sharing important guidance from the CDC and CDPH. We will continue to update local health care providers and the public as necessary.

At this time, San Luis Obispo County is at low risk for the novel coronavirus. Because public health officials are still learning about this virus, it is important that everyone do their part now by taking everyday preventative measures to help decrease the spread of the flu and other respiratory viruses that are in our community.

  • Get your flu shot to protect against flu, which can produce symptoms similar to novel coronavirus.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Avoid nonessential travel to China, for the time being.
  • If you were in China in the last 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.



About the author: News Staff

News staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote and edited this story from local contributors and press releases. Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or follow his blog. He can be reached at