Americans Potentially Exposed to Coronavirus Quarantined at Camp Ashland

Feb. 11, 2020, 5:45 p.m. ·

Tyler Shepherd, reached via FaceTime.

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Allison Mollenkamp of NET News talked with Tyler Shepherd, who is in quarantine at Camp Ashland with his wife and young son.

I understand you're in quarantine now. Can you tell me a little bit about the circumstances that led to you being there?

So we live in Shenzhen. And for the Chinese New Year, we went to switch Suizhou my wife's father. And we were in lockdown in Suizhou, which is about 150 miles from Wuhan. And we were there for 14 days. When we first were there, we didn't have a plan to leave China. But I sent an email to the US Embassy. And the first time they called me they said that unfortunately, my wife could not come because she didn't have a visa. So that was pretty disappointing. But you know, we went on, and later they called back and they actually said that they can give her an emergency visa to be able to come. So that was pretty, you know, we were happy, right? We went through immigration, and we were at the part where we were about to arrive on the plane. And they checked our temperature. They gave us wristbands with a number, that had our temperature, and the crew had hazmat suits. They had mask, goggles, full suit. So it was kind of, you know, making us like a little nervous because, you know, we just have masks. And we go into the airplane, and it's a cargo plane and there's chairs and seats that they've just, you know, locked into place. And that's where we are. So we had to fly from Wuhan to California. So our final destination is in California, but unfortunately, we had to fly to Texas. And then from Texas, we had to fly to Nebraska.

You and your family are staying at Camp Ashland, a National Guard base halfway between Lincoln and Omaha. Can you tell me what the living space is like? Are you able to stay with your family?

Yes, my family is right here with me. And the living space... so we have a two bedroom living space. We got a playpen that they've given us. And we also have a bath for him. And all of that was provided from the CDC and everybody that's here.

We know that everyone brought into quarantine was screened for symptoms and was expected to be healthy when they arrived. Has anyone in the quarantine group shown symptoms so far that you know of?

No. So we have like a group chat that is everybody here, and nobody has symptoms and we get our temperature checked twice a day.

Obviously, this is a new environment and perhaps a stressful time for your family. What is the mood in your family but also in that group chat or other folks you talk to?

I think actually it's pretty good because they've been treating us well. They get us everything that we need. So it feels more like a prolonged vacation. Even though we pretty much stay to ourself unless we're getting our temperature checked. And it's pretty... pretty okay. I wouldn't complain about it.

The quarantine is set to last 14 days from when the plane took off in Wuhan. That covers the incubation period for the virus. So assuming you and your family are healthy at the end of that 14 days, what comes next we will get on a plane and go to California where my family is.

For those flights -the flight from China and the flights back to California- are those things that you're having to fund yourself. Once we arrived in California, it was the CDC that brought us here. So that's... all of that is like free. But from Wuhan to here we have to pay for the flights which is $1,000 per person. So that's a lot of money.

Will the CDC transport you from Omaha back to California?

No. So that we had to do ourselves.

Tyler Shepherd is in quarantine at Camp Ashland with his family. He joined us by FaceTime. Thanks so much.

Thank you.