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CDC provides update on Camp Ashland coronavirus evacuees

Posted at 10:50 PM, Feb 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-09 23:50:41-05

ASHLAND, Neb. (KMTV) -  — The Centers for Disease Control has new details about the dozens of people quarantined in Ashland.

A flight from Wuhan, China, brought evacuees back to the U.S. to be monitored.

Officials with the CDC tell us the quarantine started once the flight carrying the 57 Americans left Wuhan.

"Right now they're all settled in," CDC Team Leader Dr. Eric Kasowski said. "I think they're establishing their routines [and] we're continuing with our twice daily fever checks and health checks, everybody's healthy and doing well."

Dr. Kasowski says the CDC's role is to ensure people are healthy while quarantined.

"We monitor their health and if they become ill then we get them to appropriate care right away," he said. "And [we] try to ensure that there's no spread of the disease to other people."

At this point, evacuees like Amanj Habibi, who we spoke with Saturday must simply wait.

"You can hang out with other people, [but] I don't think anyone's really doing that right now," Habibi said. "Everybody's kind of just keeping their distance, there are some conversations here and there but they're not meaningful, you're not trying to connect with anyone right away."

A medical staff is on site to provide care should someone get sick with a non-coronavirus-related illness.

"If those health-care providers feel this might be remotely coronavirus related they call me (at any time day or night), [and] I'll confer with my colleagues at Centers for Disease control and then we make a decision,"Kasowski said.

Habibi also told us Saturday they needed a place to exercise.

Dr. Kasowski says they've since made a building available with exercise equipment.

"They were all given iPhones when they landed so they can communicate among each other, they can communicate with their case-workers--the social workers who are helping them with relocation after this--and certainly with their families," he said.

Like all the evacuees, Habibi says he's ready to get home.

"I'm trying to right now see what the exact date is so I can go ahead and start planning things," Habibi said. "I mean I don't plan on getting sick so I want to just go ahead and start planning my trip out of here to go back and see my family and sleep in my own bed."