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Americans from quarantined cruise ship arrive in Omaha

Posted at 9:13 AM, Feb 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-17 19:24:53-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - Thirteen Americans who were quarantined aboard a cruise ship in Japan amid coronavirus concerns arrived at Eppley Airfield on Monday.

Officials with UNMC confirmed that not all 13 people in Omaha have the coronavirus. They believe roughly 10 people have the virus, but have to re-test everyone due to results getting lost in the midst of evacuation from Japan.

All of the patients were transported to UNMC and all are in separate rooms. One person was brought to a bio-containment unit with mild symptoms. Officials said it should take a few more hours for official test results on the patients.

Some of the evacuees have told officials they tested positive overseas but UNMC is doing their own tests just to make sure they're on the same page and have documentation.

All 13 people who arrived on Monday are adults.

Two planes of evacuees took off from Japan. One landed in California with 177 patients. The other landed in Texas with 151 patients. From those locations, positive or “high risk” patients were brought to Omaha.

Like the Americans staying at Camp Ashland, the Americans from the cruise ship arrived at a remote and isolated aircraft parking area at Eppley Airfield and did not enter the terminal.

Everyone who arrived on Monday will be in Omaha for at least 14 days.

The decision was made at 2 a.m. Monday to bring the 13 patients to UNMC. The medical center says they were prepared for the patients and have the amenities to treat them.

Officials say regardless of how many people may have the coronavirus, the public is safe. The patients are contained in their rooms and medical center staffers are highly skilled, and train for incidents like this.

Officials say the federal government is bearing the brunt of the cost for the housing and care of the evacuees.

Currently, there have been 15 documented cases of coronavirus in the U.S. and zero deaths.

Watch a Facebook Live from reporter Kent Luetzen from Eppley Airfield on Monday morning.