Oklahoman returns home after being stuck in China amid coronavirus outbreak

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As the coronavirus continues to claim lives across the globe, the Oklahoma State Health Department is monitoring Oklahomans returning from China.

“They’re being funneled to these 11 airports, just so they have control of the screening process,” Amanda Shoemate, an epidemiologist with the Oklahoma State Department of Health, said.

Those health screenings are underway across the country as Americans return from China, where the coronavirus has now claimed over 1,000 lives.

“If they are traveling back from Hubei province, specifically where the outbreak is centered, they are subject to federal quarantine,” Shoemate said.

Shoemate said people coming from other areas of China are cleared to return to their home states.

“The CDC does notify state health departments of returning travelers to each state. On a daily basis, we get notifications of those travelers,” Shoemate said.

One of those travelers is Eddie Evett. He and his family returned to Oklahoma City from Guangzhou, China this week.

They were stuck there after the American embassy shut down, keeping them from figuring out a passport issue.

Evett said someone from the American consulate in the area saw KFOR’s original story and helped get them home.

After flying from Beijing to Los Angeles, they had to go through health screenings.

“It was the county health department for California, they [were] all checking people when they got off the planes,” Evett said.

Now that they’re back in Oklahoma, Evett and his family are required to monitor their health at home.

“Just check it every day, make sure the temperature is not going up. No symptoms of like heavy chest and stuff like that,” Evett said.

Officials with the state health department said they have one person who meets the criteria for coronavirus testing and those test results are still pending with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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