MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There are over 40 Minnesotans quarantined among others on the Grand Princess cruise ship off the California coast, after 21 people aboard tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Grand Princess has about 3,500 passengers and crew members on board that were headed from Hawaii to San Francisco on either a one-week or two-week trip.
The person with a confirmed case in Minnesota got off of the ship on Feb. 21, along with 25 other Minnesotans. Two dozen of them didn’t show symptoms of COVID-19.
The Minnesota Department of Health says one other Minnesotan from the ship experienced symptoms of the illness, but they eventually tested negative. The adult that tested positive says they began to experience symptoms on Feb. 25.
Other passengers on board have been quarantined in their rooms since Thursday afternoon.
Medical professionals took samples from 45 passengers and crew members and sent them to a lab for testing. Vice President Mike Pence announced on Friday that 19 crew members and two passengers of the 45 samples taken had tested positive for the coronavirus.
Three Minnesotans spoke with WCCO about how they have been quarantined in their rooms for the last few days.
Minnesota couple, Randy Elkin and Kathleen DuChene, were celebrating 20 years together while trapped on the Grand Princess.
“You really feel abandoned, that’s what I would say abandoned,” DuChene said. “There is no housekeeping service anymore, all meals are delivered to our door on the floor, no staff are allowed to interact in person with you.”
Randy Elkin mentioned how the Princess cruise is now providing mental health councilors that people are calling to help them get through being confined.
Barb Harris from Minnetonka is also stuck on the Princess cruise and is worried about her health.
“You worry more as you get older that you might not be able to fight something off as well as a younger person,” Harris said.
All three Minnesotans said they felt lucky to have a room with a balcony so they can get fresh air and see natural light. But there are several passengers that aren’t as fortunate.
The Grand Princess cruise was supposed to end Saturday at the San Francisco port, but now the cruise ship will arrive at the port of Oakland at some point on Monday. It is currently 10 to 12 miles off the Golden Gate and is expected to take 2.5 hours to arrive at the Port of Oakland’s Outer Harbor Berth.
Medical triage is expected to start Sunday night, including screenings for those with medical issues.
Officials expect the disembarkation process to take two to three days to complete. The first group off the ship will be those who are symptomatic and in most need of medical support or hospitalization.
While the second group off the ship will be California residents, and will be transported to Travis Air Force Base for a 14-day quarantine.
The third group off the ship will be all other Americans, and they will go to military bases in Texas and Georgia for a 14-day quarantine.