SAN ANTONIO, Texas - A plane filled with Coronavirus evacuees from China is scheduled to arrive at the Joint Base San Antonio Lackland sometime on Friday.
More than 1000 Americans have been identified as living in the part of China where the outbreak was first detected and evacuations started late last month.
On Thursday, Captain Jennifer McQuiston with the CDC said they’ve spent the past few days preparing for the arrival of up to 250 people. Those arriving will be quarantined for two weeks
“Our goal in bringing these evacuees back, and making sure that they’re safely quarantined for 14 days, to make sure that there is no spread of the virus from this group and that they’re managed safely while they’re here, that they have their healthcare needs met, “ said Capt. McQuiston.
The quarantine site is a hotel-like accommodation on the massive airbase.
Fencing will surround the Gateway Inn and the Gateway Villa as Federal Marshals will be on-site to prevent anyone from getting in or out.
San Antonio was chosen because the base has the space for the evacuees and is located close to major medical facilities.
“This quarantine is based on what we know to be the approximate incubation period of this virus that means the time from when a person exposed to the virus to when they develop symptoms, “ said Capt. McQuiston.
A town hall meeting was held on base Wednesday night to talk about the plan. The gathering was only for military personnel and their families and those who work on-site.
Those who live near the base told FOX7 they were not aware of the impending arrivals.
“Makes me a little bit nervous,” said Porshea Jones, who added she is confident officials can keep things contained.
Max Moreno was also a little worried but believes he can do little about it.“I don’t know it’s up to the government you can’t say yes or no," said Moreno.
Fencing is just part of the containment plan. The people who will be brought to the base will have to be taken care of on a daily basis. That means feeding them, cleaning the rooms and monitoring to see if they get sick. A contractor who specializes in biohazard situations has been hired to handle the housekeeping job.
“All individuals who come in to potential contact with patients or items that patients have handled are wearing personal protective equipment,” said McQuiston.
Those who clear quarantine will be provided government travel assistance to get back home. Anyone who gets sick will be transported to a local hospital that specializes in treating infectious diseases. The names of the hospitals were not being made public at this time.
Officials with the CDC also said the arrival date is not set in stone and the timeline could slip into the weekend.