Anniston city leaders host press conference on coronavirus carriers not coming to area

Local News

ANNISTON, Ala. (WIAT) — Federal and local leaders held a news conference Monday to announce that plans to house coronavirus patients in Alabama have been cancelled.

Congressman Mike Rogers said the Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston is not equipped to handle patients with infectious diseases.

“We want these individuals who are contaminated with this virus to be treated like we would want to be treated, and that is not to be brought to a facility that is not prepared to take care of them,” Rogers said.

Elected officials scrambled over the weekend after learning of plans to move some patients to Alabama.

“From our perception, there was no real plan and we had no idea quite frankly what would be expected of us as a local community as a community of law enforcement, first responders,” said Anniston Mayor Jack Draper.

Going forward, if there is an additional need for quarantine space, leaders said communities need training to prepare to care for patients.

“If we need excess capacity, then we need to work on getting that and that may be a place like Center for Domestic Preparedness, but they need to equip us for it, and prepare the community for it if they’re going to bring these individuals into the country,” said Rogers.

UPDATE 9 A.M.: The City of Anniston hosted a special meeting regarding coronavirus carriers potentially being transported and housed in the area. The decision has been canceled and city leaders are explaining the process.

You can watch the press conference in the video player above.

City leaders are expected to talk about the process that played out over the weekend that led to the announcement that coronavirus victims would be coming to Anniston.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said coronavirus victims from the Diamond Princess cruise ship would come to the Anniston FEMA center. That led to a public meeting where many people expressed their concerns about the impact this would have on the community.

“My concerns are, is this facility equipped to handle a virus of this magnitude,” Anniston resident Lance Dyer said. “Are all safeguards and precautions in place?”

On Sunday, the Department of Health and Human Services later announced the victims would not be coming to the area. Rep. Mike Rogers said he spoke with President Trump, who assured him none of the victims would be sent here.

Rogers said he plans to thank the president for his involvement. The Anniston City Council will have its special meeting this morning at 9 a.m. Rogers and other leaders will be involved in a joint news conference with city leaders at 11 a.m. 

Tune in to CBS 42 online and on the app to watch today’s press conference.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.


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