Secret sites: Possible coronavirus fliers to be treated, quarantined somewhere in Metro Detroit

February 04, 2020, 8:13 AM

Health officials are mum about where they'll treat and house Detroit Metro Airport arriving passengers showing coronavirus symptoms.

Plans exist because Detroit Metro Airport is one of 11 newly designated sites for flights from China. Though Delta Air Lines last week suspended its China routes, other carriers can be diverted here as part of screenings ordered by the federal government for anyone who has been in China during the last 14 days.

DTW is one of 11 U.S. destinations for flights from China.
(Photo: Wayne County Airport Authority)

"They're saying 20 [flights] per day" could be diverted to assigned airports, Michael McElrath of the Wayne County Health Division tells the Free Press. "That's on the national level. If you look at our portion, it could be two."

The people coming to DTW on diverted flights from China are to undergo enhanced health screenings for coronavirus, and will be issued a level of risk based on those evaluations, he said.

Those who are coming from the region of China that's been hardest hit in the coronavirus outbreak — the Hubei Province — will be screened for fever, cough and difficulty breathing, and will be subjected to mandatory quarantines [for 14 days]. ...

McElrath would not disclose which Michigan hospitals or medical centers would treat potential coronavirus patients. Nor would he say where quarantined travelers who are not ill enough for hospitalization could be housed locally. 

"We know where, but we're not going to share the location where people are quarantining," McElrath said. "We're just not going to do that. ... It's not a good practice for public health privacy and safety purposes.

"The Customs and Border Patrol and CDC [Centers for Disease Control] screen in the airport and based off of their assessment of risk, they determine the level of quarantine."

The pneumonia-like coronavirus has sickened more than 17,300 people, mostly in China, and killed about 400.

Read more:  Detroit Free Press

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