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More cruise ship passengers arrive at MCAS Miramar for coronavirus quarantine

The two groups that arrived Thursday follow three previous groups of passengers that arrived Tuesday and Wednesday.

SAN DIEGO — A fifth group of passengers from the Grand Princess cruise ship in Oakland arrived at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar Thursday night, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

A fourth group arrived Thursday, and follows three previous groups of passengers that arrived Tuesday and Wednesday. 

The group of passengers will begin a 14-day quarantine period at the base. 

Officials would not disclose how many cruise ship passengers were onboard the latest plane arriving Thursday night, however, the total number of passengers sent to MCAS Miramar so far from the ship was approximately 433, County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten said Thursday. 

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More than 1,000 people on the Grand Princess - on which at least 21 people tested positive for novel coronavirus -- disembarked Tuesday after 407 disembarked Monday.  

The ship, which had roughly 3,500 people aboard -- at least 900 of them Californians -- was held off the coast of Northern California before it was allowed to dock in Oakland on Monday. 

Tuesday's group of 42 Southern California residents who were aboard the ship arrived at MCAS Miramar around 9:30 p.m. on a flight from Oakland to begin a 14-day quarantine, during which they will be monitored to determine if they develop any symptoms. 

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Col. Charles Dockery, commanding officer MCAS Miramar, sent a letter to Marines, sailors and their families. 

"The broad concept of our support will be the same as our previous efforts," he wrote. "As with the previous mission, all passengers entering quarantine will have been deemed asymptomatic by health care professionals. Passengers will remain quarantined throughout the 14-day period and there will be no contact with DOD personnel." 

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Other California residents from the cruise ship will be housed at Travis Air Force Base northeast of Oakland. 

Cruise ship passengers who are residents of other states were being taken to Joint Base San Antonio Lackland in Texas or Dobbins Air Force Base in Georgia. 

This is the second time Miramar has been used as a quarantine facility due to coronavirus. More than 200 people who were evacuated from Wuhan, China -- the epicenter of the outbreak -- were housed at the facility last month. Two of those people eventually tested positive for the virus, but they were hospitalized and have since recovered and been released. 

The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a "pandemic" earlier today due to its worldwide reach and impact. 

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