Grand Princess cruise carrying at least 21 infected with COVID-19 to disembark passengers at Oakland port, officials say

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Grand Princess cruise ship that's carrying at least 21 people who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus virus will be docked in Oakland only as long as it takes passengers to disembark, according to information released Sunday morning by the California Office of Emergency Services. That process could take days.

Passengers will begin disembarking as soon as Monday at the Port of Oakland, according to Cal OES. Passengers who have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus will be sent to California hospitals.

Those who have tested negative will be quarantined at a federal isolation facility, where they will undergo further testing. The crew members who have tested positive for coronavirus will be treated aboard the ship.

Authorities say there are almost 1,000 Californians aboard the ship and they will be quarantined for 14 days at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield and Miramar Air Station in San Diego. Passengers from other states will spend 2 weeks at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas or Dobbins Air Force Base in Georgia. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services say foreign passengers will be repatriated to their respective countries.

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Passengers who were set to sail on the Royal Princess cruise ship for a 7-day journey to Mexico from the Port of Los Angeles on Saturday were forced to make other plans after the cruise was canceled over coronavirus concerns.

Meanwhile, the cruise line's Royal Princess ship was ordered not to set sail from the Port of Los Angeles after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention learned that a crew member who previously served on the Grand Princess was transferred to the Royal Princess ship over two weeks ago.

Travis Air Force Base in Solano County has previously served as an isolation facility for American evacuees from areas with widespread coronavirus activity.

The Grand Princess cruise ship has been circling off the coast of San Francisco since Wednesday night, as authorities worked with cruise line operators to determine where the ship would dock.

The Port of Oakland was chosen because there are limited locations capable of docking a cruise ship and, according to Cal OES, Oakland is the easiest location to seal off and allow for safe the transport of passengers once they disembark.

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Vice President Mike Pence said Friday the ship would dock at a "non-commercial port," but the Port of Oakland is one of the busiest container ports on the West Coast.

Cal OES stresses no passengers or crew will be released into the general public.

"True to our community values, Oakland is a safe harbor for all," said Mayor Libby Schaaf in a media release from Cal OES.

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Gov. Gavin Newsom thanked local officials for their help devising a plan and said, "They are showing the world what makes our state great - coming to the rescue of thousands of people trapped aboard this ship and helping tackle a national emergency."

Test results delivered Friday revealed positive results for 21 of the 46 Grand Princess passengers and crew members tested for COVID-19. 19 crew members and two passengers tested positive.
There are more than 3,500 people on the ship, which departed San Francisco for a Hawaiian cruise February 21. The cruise was scheduled to end in San Francisco Saturday.

At least a dozen passengers who were on a different cruise on the same ship have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. A Placer County man who was on the Grand Princess cruise of the Mexican Riviera from February 11-21 died of the novel coronavirus last week. His symptoms started two to three days after he boarded the cruise ship.

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