Sen. Shelby: Covid-19 patients won't be coming to Anniston FEMA facility

Senator Richard Shelby said he spoke with President Trump about the decision on Sunday.

Posted: Feb 23, 2020 4:05 PM
Updated: Feb 24, 2020 8:17 AM

An undetermined number of American citizens who were deemed to be infected with the coronavirus, Covid-19, will not be coming to Alabama, according to Senator Richard Shelby.

In a statement posted to social media on Sunday, the senior senator from Alabama said that he received word from the White House that the move will not happen.

U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama

"I just 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, for working with us to ensure the safety of all Alabamians," said Shelby in a tweet.

On Saturday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a statement that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) facility in Anniston, Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP), would be "a place for some of the American passengers from the Diamond Princess to stay."

They added that "These are passengers whom the federal government evacuated back to the U.S. from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan."

Local officials said they were caught off guard by the announcement and added that they were not consulted about the decision.

On Sunday, Governor Kay Ivey issued a statement, which said in part that the plan released by HHS was "inadvertently, and perhaps prematurely sent" and that Alabama was only being considered as a "back-up plan" for housing quarantine patients.

She said she was informed of the proposal late Friday night and she "quickly informed the offices of Senators Richard Shelby and Doug Jones and Congressman Mike Rogers, as well as Dr. Scott Harris with the Alabama Department of Public Health."

During an emergency meeting of the Calhoun County Commission, the county in which the CDP is located, they said they are exploring their legal options to ensure that no individuals infected with Covid-19 come to Anniston. 

Commission Chairman Tim Hodges said that a press briefing with Congressman Mike Rogers and other officials is scheduled for Monday morning at 11 a.m. to further discuss the matter.

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