The second group of patients at a San Diego military base have completed their 14-day quarantine for possible coronavirus exposure and were free to return to their hometowns on Thursday.
Buses arrived at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar at 9 a.m. to pick up the evacuees, who have stayed at the base for two weeks over concerns they may have contracted the illness, also known as COVID-19, while in Wuhan, China.
The majority of the about 65 remaining Americans were shuttled to San Diego International Airport and disembarked for flights back home. Others may choose to stay in San Diego or continue their travels.
One patient who tested positive for COVID-19 remained hospitalized in San Diego. One other person, who was a close contact of that patient, remained quarantined.
"Two passengers’ journeys have been delayed, but we are confident in the care they are receiving from local health officials and health care providers," said CDC lead for MCAS Miramar, Dr. Erin Staples.
The rest of the evacuees were overjoyed that their long journey from China had finally come to a close. One woman, who only identified herself as Cynthia, told reporters how grateful she was to be returning to her hometown in Texas.
"I'm so happy we're safe," she said through sobs as she grasped her child. "Finally we are (going) home."
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention stressed the people being released from quarantine were not a health risk to San Diegans or their communities back home.
This comes two days after the first group was released and shuttled to San Diego International Airport once they were cleared from quarantine.
“All we needed to do was take temperature twice a day so it was kind of a vacation, very relaxing,” one woman in the first group said about the 14-day experience.
The two weeks in quarantine followed battles from American citizens to return to the United States from the center of the coronavirus outbreak, where the Chinese government had shut down airports, roadways and transportation to prevent the spread of the virus.
More on the illness in San Diego
The U.S. State Department organized flights for U.S. citizens to return home -- two of which transported passengers to the Miramar military base on Feb. 5 and Feb. 7 for quarantine.
The CDC said the quarantine was out of an abundance of caution.
The majority of the individuals did not exhibit signs of the illness, but seven people were taken to UC San Diego Medical Center and Rady Children’s Hospital for further evaluations.
Of those patients, two tested positive for coronavirus and remained at UCSD Medical Center. One of those patients fully recovered and was discharged from the hospital on Wednesday.
Mainland China has now reported 2,118 deaths and 74,576 total cases. While the overall spread of the virus has been slowing, the situation remains severe in Hubei province and its capital, Wuhan, where the new coronavirus was first detected in December.
Nine deaths have been confirmed outside the mainland — three in Japan, two in Hong Kong and one each in France, the Philippines, South Korea and Taiwan.