A registered nurse from Weedsport has returned home after providing medical support for people the U.S. government evacuated from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of an ongoing outbreak of a novel coronavirus known as CODIV-19.
Donna Sowles served as a member of the National Disaster Medical System’s Disaster Medical Assistance Team at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, CA, where returning passengers were housed on the military base while undergoing a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
According to a news release by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Sowles was among 160 physicians, nurses, paramedics, IT specialists, and other staff deployed to Travis. During and after disasters and emergencies, professionals from NDMS may supplement the public health and medical response at the request of the state, the department said, and can be called into action to provide temporary medical assistance to U.S. citizens and their dependents who have been identified by the Department of State as having returned, or been brought from a foreign country, to the U.S. because of illness, war, threat of war, or a similar crisis.
Two planes transporting evacuees from Wuhan, China, landed at Travis AFB on Feb. 5 and Feb. 7. The temporary 14-day quarantine order began when the planes left Wuhan, with the goal of detecting and minimizing introductions of the virus in the United States. The order also will protect the health of the returning citizens, their families, and their communities.
The department said that Sowles and others who worked in direct response with CODIV-19 will undergo daily monitoring. Monitoring began the first day of contact with evacuees and continued for the duration of the deployment and for 14 days post-deployment.
The National Disaster Medical System is comprised of about 5,000 physicians, nurses, veterinary staff, paramedics, fatality management professionals, and command and control staff, organized into several different response teams to provide medical support during disasters and public health emergencies that can overwhelm local and state resources.
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