The more than 3,500 people aboard the Grand Princess of Princess Cruises remained in limbo Saturday morning as they waited for more information on when and where the cruise ship will dock, after 21 people on board tested positive for the coronavirus.
At 9:10 a.m. local time, the passengers received another update from the captain.
“I am sure that you are impatient to know our future plans, but unfortunately these have not yet been communicated to us by the authorities,” we can hear the captain in a video obtained by USA TODAY. “We continue to work with federal and state authorities regarding our destination and when you can disembark. We will share this information with you as soon as it is confirmed.”
In California, state officials were working with federal officials 24 hours a day to bring the ship to a non-commercial port over the weekend and test everyone for the virus. There was no immediate word on where the ship will dock.
Passengers on the ship said Friday evening that the captain had informed them that they were moving to a location 30 kilometers from the coast to facilitate the delivery of supplies. The master said that a guest was in need of medical attention and could be flown in, said passengers, the Associated Press and KCRA 3, a television station based in Sacramento.
In his announcement on Saturday morning, the captain confirmed that earlier they had managed to evacuate the guest in critical condition.
While health officials said around 1,100 crew members would remain on board, passengers could be disembarked for quarantine, perhaps at U.S. military bases or other sites. This is what happened to hundreds of passengers who were exposed to the virus on another Princess Cruises ship, the Diamond Princess, in January.
In his most recent comments on the ship, President Donald Trump, speaking Friday at the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, said he would prefer not to leave passengers on American soil, but will rely on the recommendations of medical experts.
“I don’t need to double the number (of cases in the United States) because of a ship that was not our fault,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News. “And it wasn’t the fault of the people on the ship either. Okay? It wasn’t their fault either. And they’re mostly American, so I can live both ways.”
Speaking at the White House on Friday evening, Vice President Mike Pence said that 46 people aboard the ship, which was held off the coast of California, had been tested for coronavirus. Of these, 24 were negative and one of the tests was inconclusive. Pence said that of the 21 positive tests, 19 were crew members and two were passengers.
“Those who need to be quarantined will be quarantined. Those who need medical help will get it, ”said Pence. .
Kailee Higgins Ott, 17, is aboard the Grand Princess with her mother. She said on Saturday that they were fine. At this point, she just wants more information.
“Part of me wants to be tested and have a plan very soon,” she told USA TODAY. “But a part of me doesn’t want it either. I feel nervous if we have to move to a military base because I don’t know what it will look like. Right now, we’re being treated well and it’s not so bad in the room, so moving to another place would be weird. ”
Some of the captain’s announcements, she said, are confusing.
“I think the captain could say more because we read more than the captain tells us about the whole situation,” she added.
Princess Cruises said the ship provides food and drink via room service, providing free internet and telephone service so passengers can stay in touch with families and work with the CDC to determine if precautionary measures more were needed. The cruise line’s medical team also collects information from customers regarding prescription refill needs.
The company announced on Wednesday that the people on board may have been exposed to the coronavirus after sailing with 62 passengers who, according to officials, had previously traveled to Mexico with a 71-year-old Californian man who ultimately died of the virus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised customers to stay in their rooms as of Thursday, but had not declared a quarantine, according to a Princess Cruises statement released Thursday by spokeswoman Alivia Owyoung Ender.
A Coast Guard helicopter lowered test kits on the 951-foot Grand Princess on Thursday.
As of Saturday morning, the coronavirus had infected more than 102,000 people worldwide and killed 3,491 people, according to data from Johns Hopkins.
Other cases related to Grand Princess continue to appear
While the passengers remained on the Grand Princess, new cases related to the ship appeared.
The Chicago Department of Public Health said on Friday evening that an employee of Chicago public schools had tested positive for coronavirus – the city’s first case and the sixth in Illinois.
The woman, in her 50s, disembarked from the Grand Princess in San Francisco on February 21 and returned to Chicago on February 24. She is currently hospitalized and in stable condition, city officials said.
The woman returned to work, but stayed at home after she started to develop symptoms, officials said. The test came back positive on Friday.
The school where she works, Jacqueline B. Vaughn Occupational High School, will be closed next week.
The city’s school system and health service “have already started a huge outreach effort for each student, employee and family in this school community to inform them of the confirmed case,” said Mayor Lori Lightfoot during a press conference Friday evening.
Carson City Health and Human Services, Nevada, confirmed on Friday that it is also monitoring “a few” people in its jurisdiction who are related to the cruise ship Grand Princess.
“In many ways, our ships are small floating cities. Just as life goes on in cities for better or for worse, life also happens on board our ships, “said Princess Cruises President Jan Swartz. in a video posted on Twitter Friday morning.
This is not the first Coronavirus cruise from Princess Cruises
Princess Cruises also owns the Diamond Princess, the ship that was quarantined in Yokohama, Japan, and has experienced a coronavirus epidemic that has infected nearly 700 passengers. Six died.
“We have learned a lot from our recent experience in Japan, and are learning from these lessons as we continue to support our fleet and our customers,” said Swartz in the video on Twitter.
Sure social media, the cruise line was busy responding to a myriad of tweets from worried customers about upcoming cruises, assuring them that their reservations could be canceled. Princess allows people who have booked a cruise until May 31, 2020 to modify their reservations.
Maryland residents tested positive after cruise on Egyptian ship
Meanwhile, three Maryland residents tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday after traveling on an Egyptian Nile cruise, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said Friday evening.
The married couple in their 40s and an unrelated woman in their 50s, all from Montgomery County, are the first patients to test positive for coronavirus in the state.
“It seems to be the same cruise ship that the World Health Organization (WHO) announced today, has 12 workers who have been quarantined for 14 days” after a positive test, said Hogan. “And our three Maryland cases appear to be linked to six confirmed cases of coronavirus in Texas.”
Texas health services on Thursday announced positive coronavirus tests for several Harris County residents who had recently traveled abroad together.
A cruise ship on the Egyptian Nile with more than 150 tourists and local crew was in quarantine on Saturday in the southern city of Luxor after 12 people tested positive for the new coronavirus.
A Taiwanese-American tourist who had previously been on the same ship tested positive on his return to Taiwan. The World Health Organization has informed the Egyptian authorities, who have tested all the people currently on the ship.
Health officials have discovered that a dozen Egyptian crew members have contracted the fast-spreading virus but have no symptoms, according to a statement released on Friday.
The statement said the 12 people will be transferred in isolation to a hospital on the north coast of Egypt. The passengers – which include Americans, French and other nationalities – and the crew will remain in quarantine on the ship pending further test results.
Egyptian authorities have been quiet about the virus epidemic, previously reporting only three confirmed cases. It is even then that the wider Middle East now has more than 6,000 confirmed cases.
Contributor: The Associated Press, Andrea Mandell and Curtis Tate, USA TODAY, Matthew Prensky, Salisbury Daily Times