(NEW YORK POST) – The first US evacuee from China confirmed to have the coronavirus was mistakenly released from a San Diego hospital as a result of a botched test result that showed he was not infected, according to reports.
The patient was evacuated last week on a flight from the epicenter city of Wuhan and taken to UC San Diego Health, where he was placed in isolation along with three others after showing possible symptoms of the virus, CNN reported.
After an initial test by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that they did not have the virus, they were released Sunday and returned to the 14-day federal quarantine at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, UC San Diego Health said in a statement Monday.
“This morning, CDC officials advised San Diego (County) Public Health that further testing revealed that one of the four patients tested positive for (novel coronavirus),” the statement said.
“The confirmed positive patient was returned to UC San Diego Health for observation and isolation until cleared by the CDC for release,” it added.
Another person at Miramar also was hospitalized Monday and was being tested for the coronavirus, bringing the total from Miramar quarantine to eight.
Both patients “are doing well and have minimal symptoms,” UCSD said.
The university said in an emailed statement to the San Diego Union Tribune that the infected evacuee did not just stroll out of the hospital to head back to Miramar.
“The patient left UC San Diego Health the same way they arrived, with all precautions taken,” it said. “The patient was wearing a mask per CDC instruction. The federal marshals transported the patient while wearing protection.”
It was unclear how long the patient was at the base before officials realized that the person’s negative test result was actually positive. The statement indicates the patient was discharged from the hospital Sunday and returned Monday, but exact times were not specified.
The San Diego case – the seventh in California — is the 13th to be confirmed in the US. Eleven of the cases have been confirmed in people who recently traveled to Wuhan. The other two are cases of person-to-person transmission.