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LINCOLN – A federal effort led by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response within the federal Department of Health and Human Services brought state residents on the Grand Princess cruise ship back home to Nebraska.
The Grand Princess had been docked off the coast of California after COVID-19 cases were identified on the ship.
The Nebraska residents who had been on the ship were evacuated early last week and have been quarantined at a military facility in California before being flown back to Nebraska today. Prior to their departure to return home, the passengers were medically screened by the federal response team to ensure they were not showing symptoms of COVID-19 or other illness.
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is working closely with federal officials along with other state and local partners. The UNMC/Nebraska Medicine team is coordinating transport of these Nebraskans back to their home communities where they will self-quarantine for 14 days and be actively monitored by their local health department.
“Ensuring the health of all Nebraskans is our priority. These passengers have not been diagnosed with coronavirus disease 2019, they are not sick and haven't shown any symptoms of the disease at this time," said Dr. Gary Anthone, Chief Medical Officer and Director of Public Health for DHHS. “If they do start experiencing symptoms, they will be immediately referred for care."
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak that has now turned into a global pandemic, Nebraska's local health departments have actively monitored returning travelers from many international locations across multiple Nebraska communities. This situation is very similar and is an extension of efforts to protect both the health of returning travelers themselves and others in their communities.
Eight Nebraska residents returned today and another four will be arriving in the coming days.