Nebraska ready to assist if needed

February 04, 2020

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As the world follows developments with the novel coronavirus that originated in China, UNMC and Nebraska Medicine stand ready to help if asked. Medical center leadership has been in touch with federal agencies managing the evacuation of symptom-free Americans who are working in China. If asked to help, public health departments would work alongside federal partners and medical center experts to house and monitor a number of Americans at Camp Ashland, a nearby Nebraska National Guard facility, for 14 days. If still free of symptoms at that time, they would be allowed to return home.

UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., said the medical center is ready to support the federal government, in the event that they should select Nebraska.

"If called upon, Nebraska is ready to support this effort," Dr. Gold said. "The government is taking a precautionary measure to monitor returning Americans from the affected area to ensure that they -- and our fellow citizens -- remain healthy," he said. "Should someone test positive, then appropriate treatment would follow."

"As the novel coronavirus demonstrates, we are interconnected by global travel and must be ready to respond to outbreaks, wherever they occur," said Jim Linder, M.D., CEO of Nebraska Medicine. "The medical center will continue to be a resource to the federal government and assist whenever, and however, we can."

This effort, and communications associated with it would originate with the federal government agencies in charge.

The medical center is home to the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit and, more recently, completed a 20-bed National Quarantine Unit, thanks to a contract from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Assistant Security for Preparedness & Response. At this time, neither unit has been activated.

Nebraska Medicine and UNMC are committed to keeping colleagues, providers, patients, and the general public informed. A public question-and-answer page has been added to NebraskaMed.com.

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