San Mateo County is urging its residents to be compassionate after state officials announced Wednesday that some passengers previously quarantined on the Grand Princess cruise ship due to the novel coronavirus will be temporarily housed at a San Carlos hotel.
The passengers being taken to the hotel are Americans who have been screened by medical professionals and have mild or no symptoms of the virus, also known as COVID-19, so they don't require hospitalization.
The San Carlos hotel is owned by the private company GRM Properties and can house up to 120 people and is currently unoccupied. None of the people taken there are known to have contracted COVID-19, but they will be tested and monitored, according to the Governor's Office of Emergency Services.
"We have been assured by federal and state authorities that the individuals now temporarily housed in San Carlos pose no health or safety risks to our residents or visitors," San Mateo County Manager Mike Callagy said in a statement.
"They are now in a controlled environment managed and protected by the federal government," he said.
"We have a humanitarian responsibility to assist during this health crisis. These passengers have to go someplace. We will do everything we can to help and protect our citizenry from exposure," said San Mateo County Supervisor Don Horsley, whose supervisorial District 3 includes San Carlos.
The Governor's Office of Emergency Services and other state offices are handling the operations at the hotel. The county's Emergency Operations Center is providing around-the-clock support to the federal and state government's efforts.
The ship arrived at the Port of Oakland on Monday carrying more than 3,500 passengers and crewmembers, including 21 who had tested positive for COVID-19.
In addition to the passengers headed to the San Carlos hotel, more than 650 other Grand Princess passengers were taken to both Travis Air Force Base near Fairfield and Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego for 14-day quarantines.
"First and foremost, we want to ensure that these Americans, who have faced a great deal of adversity, are in good hands until they can return to their homes," state Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said in a news release.
"Just as important is protecting the public health of our state and the communities that welcome these passengers, including San Carlos and San Mateo County," he said.
The county remains in a state of emergency, with 15 countywide cases reported as of Wednesday.