- Associated Press - Monday, March 2, 2020

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Four of the Americans who were exposed to a new virus on a Japanese cruise ship have been released from quarantine in Omaha, but leaving is difficult for some because it means being separated from spouses who remain in quarantine.

The University of Nebraska Medical Center said two of the people being released never tested positive for the new coronavirus and were cleared for release Monday. Two others left quarantine on Sunday after testing negative.

Eleven more people who were evacuated from the Diamond Princess two weeks ago all tested positive for COVID-19. They will have to test negative three times, 24 hours apart, before they will be allowed to leave quarantine.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts greeted Jeri Seratti-Goldman and Joanne Kirkland as they left the National Quarantine Unit on Monday.

“It has been wonderful. We have been treated with nothing but respect,” said Kirkland, of Knoxvillle, Tennessee, about her experience in quarantine.



Kirkland and Seratti-Goldman said leaving is bittersweet because their husbands remain in quarantine.

“I woke up this morning and I was like, ‘Oh, I should be doing a happy dance.’ And I wasn’t doing a happy dance. I was doing a sad dance,” said Seratti-Goldman, of Santa Clarita, California.

She said she’s looking forward to seeing her children and her dogs when she returns home for the first time since Jan. 17. And she is looking forward to getting back to work. The extended quarantine on the ship and in Omaha has been hard on her business, Seratti-Goldman said.

It’s had a “huge financial impact on us,” she said. “We’re the salespeople at our business and there’s been no new sales done.”

Kirkland, who is retired, said she worries about how she will be received by her friends.

“My only question is, will my friends shun me after this?” Kirkland said.

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