New Quarantine Center at UNMC Ready if Needed for Coronavirus

Jan. 30, 2020, 11:34 a.m. ·

The first federally designated quarantine center is now open in Omaha. It was funded by a $19.8 million grant from the federal government.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Training, Simulation and Quarantine Center will include twenty beds, collaboration spaces, a specially-designed biocontainment simulation training center and observation units. It is part of the Global Center for Health Security at UNMC.

The already existing biocontainment unit at Nebraska Medicine helped care for Ebola patients in 2014.

With the five confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S., the Training, Simulation and Quarantine Center could be used to monitor those who may have been exposed to the virus. If a patient developed symptoms, he or she could be transferred to Nebraska Medicine to an isolation room or in the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit.

Even though the coronavirus outbreak is very serious, 30,000-40,000 Americans die of the flu every year, Dr. Ted Cieslak, quarantine center director, said.

“If there is any one, single piece of advice I’d give folks: get your flu shot," Cieslak said. "And wash your hands.”

The Training, Simulation and Quarantine Center will help support the federal government and other agencies that need to quarantine individuals with high-risk exposures.

Editor's Note: This story was corrected from the original version to indicate the TSQC is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Also, the biocontainment unit is not in the TSQC and patients would only be observed not treated in the TSQC.