City leaders in Anniston say they were not prepared for the Department of Health and Human Services plan to use a FEMA center in Anniston, Alabama to quarantine some passengers from the Diamond Princess who tested positive for the coronavirus.
HHS announced Saturday that passengers who tested positive, but do not have symptoms; will be quarantined at the FEMA Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston. If an evacuee becomes seriously ill, they will be transported to “pre-identified hospitals” for medical care.
On Saturday night we spoke to Piedmont Mayor Bill Baker about the situation – Local and Federal authorities held a conference call on Saturday afternoon and Mayor Baker said that the entire situation came as a complete blindside to Calhoun County leaders.
Mayor Baker has called an emergency Piedmont Council meeting for Sunday and says that they will pass a resolution supporting the injunction that Anniston/County will file.
The City of Anniston will hold a special meeting of the city council under emergency circumstances to authorize immediate legal action to avoid physical injury to persons.
Calhoun County Commission will also hold an emergency meeting today (Sunday, February 23rd, 2020) at 2:00 pm in the Calhoun County Offices regarding the joint litigation with the City of Anniston concerning the potential transport of persons infected with or exposed to the Coronavirus and to discuss a potential declaration of emergency regarding the transport of persons infected with or exposed to the Coronavirus
The City of Oxford Council will hold a special meeting in support of the Calhoun County Commission and the City of Anniston. The meeting will be this afternoon (2/23/20) at 3:00 pm, at Oxford City Hall.
Congressman Mike Rogers made the following statement after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) would be used as a quarantine Center for some Americans exposed to Coronavirus (COVID-19).
“Earlier this evening, I spoke with President Trump. He agreed with me that the decision by the Department of Health and Human Services to house those Americans exposed to Coronavirus at the Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston is the wrong decision. President Trump had no advanced notice and these individuals were brought to the continental United States without his consent. I will continue to work with President Trump and HHS to find the best facilities that meet the needs for those Americans that have been exposed to this dangerous virus. The CDP is not that place.”
WHAT WE KNOW:
The Department of Health and Human Services plans to house passengers from the Diamond Princess Cruise ship at the Center for Domestic Preparedness(CDP)
- These patients have been on the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship in Japan.
- These patients have tested positive for the virus BUT have no or mild flu like symptoms.
- These patients are ALREADY in the United States and are currently being housed on Department of Defense instillations.
- Calhoun County Emergency Management Agency(EMA)were notified at approximately 12:30 pm Saturday by local media that these patients we coming to Anniston.
- Calhoun County EMA has not been made aware of the number of passengers that are to be housed at the CDP
- Since that time, we have been in contact with the Center for Domestic Preparedness and the U.S. Health and Human Services.
- They have ensured us that the patients will be quarantined to a facility at the Center for Domestic Preparedness and that no one will leave the facility until they are cleared by onsite medial officials.
- The Department of Health and Human Resources tells us that there is no threat to the local communities in Calhoun County.
- HHS and CDP have not shared the plan for a person that needs to be transported to a hospital. Calhoun County Commission plans to file an injunction with the Federal Government to prevent any passengers from the Diamond Princess from being quarantined in Calhoun County at the Center for Domestic Preparedness.
- Calhoun County EMA will continue to be in contact with federal officials through the duration of this event.
- Calhoun County Emergency Management Agency is working with local, state and Federal Governments, public safety and healthcare partners and the Alabama Department of Public Health to ensure the safety of the all Calhoun County Residents
PREPAREDNESS: Outbreaks of viral infections among people are always a public health concern and are dependent on a number of factors(CDC source). Examples could include many different types of illnesses such as influenza (flu), the recently known coronavirus, among many others.