Personnel practice quarantine procedures as group from China makes its way to Omaha

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- A plane left China on Thursday headed for Omaha, following a similar process as a flight that left earlier this week. But this one, scheduled to arrive Friday, is transporting at least 70 Americans who will be placed in precautionary quarantine for coronavirus at Camp Ashland.

For several agencies, it's a big job. That’s why most of Thursday was spent training and rehearsing, running a few dry runs from Eppley Airfield to Camp Ashland, located west of the Metro.

The plane is due to arrive sometime Friday at the Omaha airport at an area away from normal operations; they won’t be entering the terminal.

After passengers are screened, they will be taken to Camp Ashland, where — barring signs of any potential symptoms of coronavirus — they will stay for the rest of their preventative two-week quarantine. Authorities have said the 14-day stretch started once they boarded their flight in China.

These people lived in Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. The quarantine is a precautionary measure to see whether they develop the disease or even any symptoms.

Eric Kasowski, with the Centers for Disease Control, and a team of seven came to Omaha from Atlanta to oversee the quarantine screening and procedures here.

Thursday, the CDC and other agencies joined in on a rehearsal of when the passengers arrive.

“From a military person’s perspective, what I saw on the Camp (Thursday) was an impressive level of attention to detail, rehearsing every small detail of this operation,” Maj. Scott Ingalsbe said.

A bus will pick up the Americans and bring them to Camp Ashland — even that bus participated in the drill.

“Making sure the bus has enough room to make the turn to get right to the building it needs to get to,” Ingalsbe said.

It's also important that the team maintains quarantine during transport.

“I would imagine people are concerned they are infected and cause spread of disease; and quite the contrary — this is a measure to prevent that from happening,” he said.

When the passengers arrive, they will stay in quarters at Camp Ashland. They will be allowed to intermingle and even leave the building, but they can't go beyond the orange fence.

“They will have as many of the amenities as we can get for them,” Ingalsbe said. “It's very important that they stay comfortable and happy.”