Plan to bring coronavirus evacuees to Alabama cancelled by Trump, lawmakers say

AL.com

Update: Sen. Richard Shelby and Rep. Mike Rogers said the plan to bring coronavirus patients to Alabama has been cancelled.

Shelby tweeted he had been informed by the president the evacuees from the Princess Cruise ship won’t be coming to the Anniston-based Center for Domestic Preparedness. 

“I just got off the phone with the President. He told me that his administration will not be sending any victims of the coronavirus from the Diamond Princess cruise ship to Anniston, Alabama. Thank you @POTUS.”

Rep. Mike Rogers, whose district includes Anniston, tweeted a similar message.

Earlier:

Coronavirus patients evacuated from a cruise ship may not be coming to a FEMA facility in Anniston, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said.

The Department of Health and Human Services announced Saturday it was bringing American evacuees to the Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston. The patients coming to Alabama were evacuated from the Diamond Princess, a cruise ship docked in Japan during an outbreak of coronavirus. The evacuees tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, but are either asymptomatic or have mild flu-like symptoms. The announcement set off a wave of protests and threats of suits from local officials.

Now, Ivey said the announcement patients were coming to Alabama was “premature.”

Ivey said her office was notified of the plans late Friday night and contacted Sens. Richard Shelby and Doug Jones, Rep. Mike Rogers, whose district includes the Anniston area, and Dr. Scott Harris with the Alabama Department of Public Health.

“Obviously concerned, there were a number of conversations between HHS, the White House, my staff and me, as well as two rounds of conference calls including the senior staff of the Congressional Delegation to try to clarify (Health and Human Service’s) intent and reasoning for selecting Alabama. On one of the calls, they informed us that the CDP in Anniston is only being considered as a “back-up” plan, in case they run out of alternative locations.

“They assured us on both calls that no decision had been made to send anyone to Anniston.”

The Saturday press release announcing the plans was sent “inadvertently and perhaps prematurely,” Ivey said.

Coronavirus evacuees are currently being housed at military bases in California, Colorado and Texas.

Ivey said her office is still working with federal officials in the event patients are brought to Alabama.

“I made it abundantly clear that while the State of Alabama wants to work closely with the Trump administration to assist fellow Americans who may have tested positive for the coronavirus, there were some grave concerns about why the site in Anniston was chosen and how, logistically, this would play out in the event this back-up site were to be eventually activated.

“First and foremost, my priority is to protect the people of Alabama. While locating these folks in Alabama is currently a backup plan, this is a serious issue and we need to be fully aware of the facts regarding the potential of housing them in Anniston,” she said.

Rogers says Trump opposed bringing patients to U.S.

Rep. Rogers said earlier he had met with the president over concerns about bringing coronavirus patients to Alabama.

In a series of Saturday night tweets sent just hours after the plan was announced, Rogers said he had spoken to the president about the use of Anniston’s Center for Domestic Preparedness to house an unknown number of coronavirus patients.

“Earlier this evening, I spoke with (President Donald Trump). He agreed with me that the decision by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to house those Americans exposed to Coronavirus (COVID-19) at the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) in Anniston is the wrong decision,” he tweeted. “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 will meet the needs for those Americans who have been exposed to this dangerous virus. The CDP is not that place.”

The New York Times reported Trump was “infuriated” 14 coronavirus patients were transported to the U.S. last week without his consent.

You can see the original HHS announcement below:

HHS is taking precautions to protect the health of all Americans from Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). To that end, HHS and FEMA agreed to use a federal facility, the FEMA Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston, Alabama, as a place for some of the American passengers from the Diamond Princess to stay. These are passengers whom the federal government evacuated back to the U.S. from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.

The passengers who will stay at the Center tested positive for COVID-19, although at this time they either do not have symptoms or have mild flu-like symptoms. Any of the evacuees who become seriously ill will be transported to pre-identified hospitals for medical care. Under the HHS-FEMA agreement, the Center for Domestic Preparedness will provide the housing, and HHS will provide basic medical care and all other support services for these returning passengers. Passengers will stay in a separate area from the Center’s training participants and will remain at the Center until they are medically cleared.

The Center has unique facilities and routinely offers week-long, hands-on training for large groups of professionals from federal, state and local emergency management agencies, hospitals, public health agencies, and law enforcement agencies on disaster response.

https://www.al.com/news/2020/02/coronavirus-evacuees-may-not-come-to-alabama-gov-ivey-says-anniston-fema-facility-a-back-up.html

One thought on “Plan to bring coronavirus evacuees to Alabama cancelled by Trump, lawmakers say

  1. more proof that it’s a district within a district within the district of Columbia.. that Anniston mayor NEVER even thought about acting like he was gonna say THEY CANT DO IT! i described him as a Dollar General manager, Kay Ivey the regional supervisor, the fed the CEO. not ONE WORD about muhh 10th amenmunt! it’s times like these, people like this that i really hope there’s a hell.

Join the Conversation

Your email address will not be published.


*