Hundreds more people evacuated from the virus zone in China began arriving Friday at military bases across the U.S. to begin a two-week quarantine, including in Nebraska.
A flight landed Friday evening at Eppley Airfield in Omaha, where evacuees were to undergo another round of health screenings before being shuttled to Camp Ashland, where they will be quarantined for 14 days and monitored for any signs of the coronavirus.
There were no signs of illness among those who flew into Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, said Dr. Jennifer McQuiston, deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control’s division of high consequence pathogens and pathology. She said fewer than 100 people, including babies, will stay at Lackland, but did not have an exact number.
The plane, which continued on to Omaha, arrived from the Wuhan region of China, the center of the outbreak of the new coronavirus. A military base in San Diego also received Americans who will be quarantined.
Earlier evacuation flights to California have brought people to March Air Reserve Base in Southern California and Travis Air Force Base near San Francisco.
U.S. officials said at a news conference in Washington on Friday that more than 800 people have been brought to the United States from Wuhan on recent flights.
The new virus is in the coronavirus family that includes Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, and severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS. It causes fever, cough, shortness of breath and, in severe cases, pneumonia. It has sickened more than 31,000 people and killed more than 700, virtually all in China.
Dr. Eric Kasowski, chief of the Population Health Workforce at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a news conference in Omaha on Thursday that the patients arriving in Nebraska have been screened multiple times, including before takeoff and during their flight.
"The purpose of the quarantine is to identify any onset of illness among this group right away should it develop," Kasowski said.
At Camp Ashland, the Nebraska National Guard's training site, patients will stay in an 85-bed housing complex built in the 1990s.
If anyone begins to show symptoms of the coronavirus, they will be taken by a specialized ambulance to either the 20-bed national quarantine unit or the Biocontainment Patient Care Unit at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, said Shelly Schwedhelm, UNMC's executive director of emergency management and preparedness.
Concerned about COVID-19?
Sign up now to get the most recent coronavirus headlines and other important local and national news sent to your email inbox daily.