Four People Leave Quarantine Unit

OMAHA – Four people being monitored in the National Quarantine Unit on the UNMC/Nebraska Medical Center campus have left quarantine after exceeding the qualifications to be eligible for release. Two of these individuals previously tested positive for COVID-19, while two others have tested negative throughout the quarantine process. Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts greeted two of the people as they left quarantine unit Monday morning.

These four Americans met all UNMC/Nebraska Medicine qualifications for release, which exceeded CDC qualifications. Two people who previously tested positive for the disease were released from quarantine on Sunday afternoon, having tested negative for the virus in three separate tests, 24 hours apart. While March 2nd has been previously stated as the release date for those who have continued to test negative for the disease, the two released Sunday met guidelines to leave quarantine a day before those who have tested negative throughout because:

· The date of their first test in Japan

· Symptoms which have been absent which allows testing to start

· Three negative tests 24 hours apart

The two people who have tested negative throughout the process left the National Quarantine Unit this morning.

“It’s gratifying to be able to play such a crucial role at such an important time as this disease continues to spread across our nation,” said Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, chancellor of the University of Nebraska Medical Center and University of Nebraska at Omaha. “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. 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.”

Thus far, monitoring in the National Quarantine Unit up to this point has been uneventful. The majority of the people being monitored here have either had minor or no symptoms from the coronavirus. One person met clinical requirements to be enrolled in the first clinical trial in the country to test the effectiveness of a drug to fight the disease. Dr. Andre Kalil, a UNMC/Nebraska Medicine professor and infectious diseases specialist is leading that trial.

“The comments we’ve received from those we’re monitoring have been overwhelmingly positive,” said James Linder, MD, CEO of Nebraska Medicine. “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. We have learned a great deal and are actively sharing that experience with our partners to strengthen training of health care professionals.

Eleven people are still being monitored inside the 20-bed National Quarantine Unit, the only federally funded quarantine unit in the country. Three of these individuals had previously been receiving care in the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit, but their conditions improved to the point where that care was no longer needed. Release dates for those still in quarantine will likely occur in a staggered fashion, as each person meets requirements for testing, and subsequently receiving, the required test results.

We will continue to provide daily updates for those still in quarantine at