OMAHA, Neb. (KCAU) – Four people who were being monitored in the National Quarantine Unit on the UNMC/Nebraska Medical Center campus have left quarantine after exceeding the qualifications for release.
Two of the individuals previously tested positive for COVID-19, while the two others have tested negative throughout the quarantine process.
Two were released Sunday afternoon after testing negative for the virus three separate times. Each test was 24 hours apart. They were able to be released a day early because of the date of their first test in Japan, their lack of symptoms, and their consecutive negative tests.
At an event at UNMC Monday, two others began their departure process from the facility. They are two of 13 who were brought to Omaha from the Diamond Princess cruise ship off the coast of Japan.
Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, chancellor of the University of Nebraska Medical Center and University of Nebraska at Omaha said that UNMC plays a crucial role to the nation as the disease continues to spread.
“Providing care and monitoring for these Americans in the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit and National Quarantine Unit is not only integral to the safety of our country, but also incredibly important as we study more about this disease and the best approaches for diagnosis and treatment across our nation and beyond,” Gold said. “Nebraskans should be proud we have the best people, the best technology and best facilities here to be able to tackle this mission head-on.”
At the event, Governor Pete Ricketts urged organizations and families to be prepared for illness in much the same way they would prepare for a snowstorm. Stocking up on provisions and staying home while sick are two of the biggest things people can do to prepare in addition to practicing good hygiene, Ricketts said.
James Linder, MD, CEO of Nebraska Medicine said the comments the medical center has received from those being monitored are overwhelmingly positive.
“The ordeal these folks have faced and continue to face has been lengthy and strenuous to say the least. To be able to give them a strong dose of “Nebraska Nice” combined with ‘Serious Medicine and Extraordinary Care’ hopefully allows them to seamlessly return to their daily lives,” Linder said. “We have learned a great deal and are actively sharing that experience with our partners to strengthen training of health care professionals.”
The National Quarantine Unit is still monitoring 11 other individuals. Of those 11, the condition of three who were previously in the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit has improved beyond the need for that care. They too will undergo testing with their release dates likely to be scheduled in a staggered fashion.
Dr. Andre Kalil, and UNMC/Nebraska Medicine professor and infection diseases specialist is leading the first clinical trial in the nation to test the effectiveness of a drug aimed at fighting COVID-19. One person in the National Quarantine Unit has met requirements to be enrolled in that trial.
To watch the replay of the press conference, watch below.