Jeri Seratti-Goldman, Joanne Kirkland (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – Four of the 15 people being monitored for coronavirus/COVIDA-19 in the National Quarantine Unit on at the University of Nebraska Medical Center/Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha after being evacuated from a cruise ship in Japan have left quarantine.
Two had tested positive at one time for COVID-19 while the other remained negative throughout the 14 day quarantine period. The two positives eventually tested negative on 3 tests conducted 24 hours apart and were released Sunday afternoon.
The other two, Jeri Seratti-Goldman from southern California and Joanne Kirkland of Tennessee left the unit Monday morning with Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts on hand to greet them.
UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey Gold says it was “gratifying to be able to play such a crucial role at such an important time as the disease continues to spread across our nation.” Gold says the care and monitoring in Omaha is not only integral to the safety of the country, but also incredibly important as researchers study more about the disease and the best approaches for diagnosis and treatment.
Eleven people are still being monitored inside the 20-bed National Quarantine Unit, the only federally funded quarantine unit in the country. Three had been in the adjacent and higher-level Nebraska Biocontainment Unit for a time, but their conditions improved to the point they could join the others in the Quarantine Unit.
Release dates for the 11 will likely occur in a staggered fashion, as each person meets
requirements for testing, and subsequently receiving, the required test results.
In a related story, Vice President Mike Pence – named by President Trump to head up the coronavirus effort – joined governors and state and federal health officials in a conference call Monday morning, urging the states to seek whatever federal resources they need to prepare for COVID-19 and to focus as much as possible on prevention.
Ricketts was among those taking part and said afterward he’s aiming to ensure that Nebraska is the “best-prepared state” to handle the virus if any cases are confirmed outside of quarantine areas – adding that while Nebraska is well-positioned thanks to the UNMC complex, but that people should remain vigilant.