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U.S. Coronavirus Cases Now Stand at 26

Several passengers from the Diamond Princess have been transferred to a biocontainment unit at UNMC

FRIDAY, Feb. 21, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Eleven Americans who were evacuated from a quarantined cruise ship in Japan have tested definitively for coronavirus, bringing the case count in this country to 26, U.S. health officials reported late Thursday.

Among the 400 Americans who were on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship, roughly 300 were evacuated over the weekend and are under quarantine in the United States. The 11 passengers whose tests came back positive for coronavirus were part of a group of 13 high-risk passengers who had been at Travis Air Force base in northern California since the cruise ship evacuation. They have since been transported to the University of Nebraska Medical Center, which has a biocontainment unit and is specially designated to treat highly infectious diseases, CNN reported. The unit successfully treated three patients for Ebola in 2004.

“The hospital had said some of the patients had tested positive in Japan but some came with a lack of clarity [on] what their test results were,” Shelly Schwedhelm, R.N., UNMC/Nebraska medical executive director of Emergency Management and Biopreparedness, told CNN.

“We currently have 10 people in the National Quarantine Unit while three are in the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit,” the medical center said in a statement released Thursday night. “Most of our guests aren’t showing symptoms of the disease; however, several others are exhibiting minor symptoms.”

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