A woman waiting for an international traveler to arrive to LAX Tom Bradley International Terminal wears a medical mask for protection against the coronavirus outbreak on February 2, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
David McNew | Getty Images
U.S. health officials revealed fresh details Monday about the order to quarantine hundreds of Americans to contain the coronavirus outbreak, which has now killed at least 362 people and sickened nearly 17,400 worldwide.
While there are only 195 Americans currently in mandatory quarantine, according to health officials, that number is expected to grow as Americans who have recently traveled to Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, return to the U.S., director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases Dr. Nancy Messonnier said Monday.
Trump administration officials announced a mandatory 14-day quarantine on Friday for any American who has traveled to Hubei province in the two weeks prior to the announcement. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working with state and local health authorities to prepare facilities for quarantine, Messonnier said.
“The discussions about where those patients will go is a conversation the CDC has been having actively with the state and local health departments,” she said. “We are working through an operational plan that might be slightly different at each of those locations depending on how much preparation they’ve done.”
All flights from China are now being funneled through 11 airports in the U.S., so passengers eligible for quarantine will be brought to facilities near those airports, Messonnier added. Where passengers will be quarantined may vary broadly depending on where they land, Messonnier added.
“I think for some specific locations, military bases are close by,” she said. “Other states have already made plans for hotels as part of their operational planning.”
Messonnier declined to provide an estimate of the number of people who will be placed in quarantine.
Messonnier also said Monday that the State Department is preparing to send more evacuation flights to Wuhan. Those flights, however, will land in the U.S. at “specific Department of Defense locations,” rather than the 11 designated airports. Messonnier said CDC officials will monitor the health of the passengers throughout the quarantine.
Messonnier said the decision to quarantine Americans is based largely on mounting evidence that the new coronavirus spreads before symptoms appear.