Coronavirus Death Connected to California Cruise Ship

Coronavirus Death Connected to California Cruise Ship title=
Coronavirus Death Connected to California Cruise Ship
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Crown Princess cruise ship docked in the waters off Santa Barbara in 2015 (Photo: Steve Bissell)

By edhat staff

California's first coronavirus death came from a cruise ship that's scheduled to dock in Santa Barbara later this month. 

The state reported its first death due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on Wednesday. The victim is a Placer County man who recently took a cruise.

Officials believe the victim contracted the virus on a February 11-21 cruise aboard the Grand Princess that traveled between San Francisco and Mexico. The unidentified man is described as being 71-years-old with underlying health conditions.

The Grand Princess cruise ship cancelled its current route to Ensenada and is now headed back to the San Francisco area with 2,500 people on board. It's unclear exactly where it will dock.

"Public health officials have advised that no guests will be permitted to disembark until all results have been received," Princess Cruises said in a statement. However, not everyone onboard will be tested but only identified groups of guests and crew determined by the CDC, reports CNN.

There are approximately 21 people onboard who have developed symptoms of illness.

"There are fewer than 100 guests and crew identified for testing, including all in-transit guests (guests who were on the previous Mexico voyage and remained onboard for the current Hawaii voyage), those guests and crew who have experienced influenza-like illness symptoms on this voyage, and guests currently under care for respiratory illness," according to the cruise line.

Cruise Ships and Santa Barbara

Photo: Patti Gutshall

As of Thursday, there are no cases of COVID-19 in Santa Barbara County. Officials state the health risk to the public remains low at this time. 

Santa Barbara County officials and the Public Health Department (PHD) state they have been planning and preparing should COVID-19 be identified in the county. 

The Amadea cruise ship arrived on Wednesday morning and departed in the evening. On March 24, the Grand Princess cruise ship, the same ship that carried an infected passenger who died this week and is headed to San Francisco, is scheduled to arrive in Santa Barbara. It's unknown if this ship will still continue with its scheduled trip to the area.

As of now, the City of Santa Barbara stated it has not cancelled any scheduled cruise ship visits but will continue to monitor the situation and take actions based on recommendations from the PHD and Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The CDC and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) are tasked with evaluating each incoming cruise ship and will not allow it to port/disembark in Santa Barbara unless it is deemed safe to do so, according to the City of Santa Barbara.

Coronavirus in California

There are currently 36 active cases of COVID-19 in California as Governor Gavin Newsom announced a State of Emergency yesterday due to the rapid spread of the virus. Newsom made the declaration to make additional resources available, formalize emergency actions already underway across multiple state agencies and departments, and help the state prepare for a broader spread of COVID-19. 

“The State of California is deploying every level of government to help identify cases and slow the spread of this coronavirus,” said Governor Newsom. “This emergency proclamation will help the state further prepare our communities and our health care system in the event it spreads more broadly.”

The emergency proclamation includes provisions that protect consumers against price gouging, allow for health care workers to come from out of state to assist at health care facilities, and give health care facilities the flexibility to plan and adapt to accommodate incoming patients. Millions of N95 masks were released as the state secured the capacity to test thousands of specimens from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to expedite testing.

Los Angeles County is reporting seven confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. One person is hospitalized and five are isolated in their home while being monitored. 

Many of the cases in California are travel-related, according to the California Department of Public Health. The first case of unknown origin was a patient admitted to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento in February. This prompted new testing guidelines from the CDC.

Officials Urge Public to Stop Panicking

Photo: John Wiley

Many officials are urging the general population not to panic and to take the same general precautions during the regular flu season.

Edhat reader John Wiley posted a photo of empty store shelves in Costco this week sparking a discussion about panic. What do the experts say? There's no need to panic-buy supplies. 

“Panic-buying happens when people worry about the scarcity of supplies,” says Steven Taylor, professor and clinical psychologist at the University of British Columbia, who specializes in the psychology of pandemics. “Some people rush to supermarkets and so forth in the hope of getting ahead of the crowd. But in reality, those people are simple panic-buyers who happen to arrive early,” reports NBC News.

Stop the spread of germs by:

  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue then throw it in the trash
  • Do not cough or sneeze into your hands, use your elbow if needed
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces such as door handles, cell phones, and keys.
  • Washin your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Stay home if you are sick. If your symptoms worsen, call your doctor first before visiting their office.

The Center for Disease Control does NOT recommend using face masks. Facemasks are not efficient at preventing the spread of COVID-19. Facemasks should ONLY be worn by people showing symptoms of the disease. Unless you or a close family member is showing symptoms of COVID-19, avoid wearing a facemask.


Related Articles

 March 3, 2020: Public Health Responds to Coronavirus and Cruise Ship Concerns

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Show Comments
tagdes Mar 06, 2020 04:44 PM
Coronavirus Death Connected to California Cruise Ship

Latest in is that 21 out of the 46 tested so far have the virus so all 3,522 will have to be tested. The ship will be moored at a non commercial port. If it follows the Diamond Princess scenario no way it will be coming this way. They'll be lucky to have it ready for the AK cruises even with skipping our short little coastal cruise.

a-1583690054 Mar 08, 2020 10:54 AM
Coronavirus Death Connected to California Cruise Ship

City Council are idiots. All they care about is businesses and landowners downtown and wining the next election by conning residents to vote for them. They all need to go. Incompetent know nothings.

a-1583524419 Mar 06, 2020 11:53 AM
Coronavirus Death Connected to California Cruise Ship

Oceandrew, those wanting to take away cruise ship revenues due to unfounded hysteria are the mean people. No city tax revenues - no way to pay city employees. It works that way - cash in= cash out. Might want to start a GoFundMe and raise private donations for the city's lost cruise ship revenue, so city workers will not have to be laid off. Works the same way - cash in = cash out. Basic math.

a-1583521252 Mar 06, 2020 11:00 AM
Coronavirus Death Connected to California Cruise Ship

OOPS, double oops, city employee pension plan CalPERS just lost $15 billion dollars in portfolio value due to corona hysteria impact on market. This means the city will need that $4 million cruise ship revenue to back-fill their CalPERS pension funding obligations. Let's hope the market recovers as much as people start recovering their common sense so this does not turn into a total lose-lose. Those animal spirits have keen senses.

Crystalandmaui Mar 06, 2020 09:24 AM
Coronavirus Death Connected to California Cruise Ship

Please don’t let that ship or any cruise ship come in to port here or anywhere, they should be all canceled.
Yes I heard also about a nurse in cottage hospital contacting it. So how many people there came into contact with her?
I’m scared now.
I went to vons and saw they haven’t had any hand wipes now for a week, so bring your own now, have Clorox wipes with you.
A lot of people were let in the US BEFORE THEY STARTED THE QUARANTINE.

oops Mar 06, 2020 09:43 AM
Coronavirus Death Connected to California Cruise Ship

why only single out cruise ships? why not stop all air planes landing - who know where these people are coming from and what they carry on their checked luggage. Next let's block off the freeway exits to block those wanting to come by car. No more Amtrak too!!

HammerTime Mar 06, 2020 08:31 AM
Coronavirus Death Connected to California Cruise Ship

People should be aware that as of yesterday there were 3 cases of people with suspected infections at cottage in isolation, and approximately 7 more isolated at their homes. Cottage currently has no ability to run tests and are dependent to wait 3 days to get test results back.

therealbebe Mar 06, 2020 05:07 PM
Coronavirus Death Connected to California Cruise Ship

@ 9:38am: 1.) It's HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) not "HIPPA" and that you are unable to spell it or identify the acronym says you know actually nothing about it. 2.) No, there was no violation there at all. You're just uninformed, and it's super annoying.

rssb72 Mar 06, 2020 09:16 AM
Coronavirus Death Connected to California Cruise Ship

This is kind of irresponsible of you to post without some sort of backup to support it. Unless you work at Cottage or know these people you claim are infected. Also, you're telling me that SLO had the ability to test and receive the results within 3 hours of their one suspected patient yesterday, and a place like Cottage doesn't even have the tests?

SantaBarbaraObserver Mar 06, 2020 08:12 AM
Coronavirus Death Connected to California Cruise Ship

I for one do not trust that our City or County officials can manage this or any other disastrous situation. After their gross negligent handling of the mudslide evacuations, their disastrous handling of the drought and the fact that our Mayor has proven to be an abject moron and completely inept nincompoop. The City is not going to do anything right when it comes to preparing or managing a pandemic. Take responsibility for your own life and family and do everything you can to prevent infection. DO NOT listen to the city leaders, they are woefully inept and incapable of managing the benign operations of our city let alone something as dangerous as a pandemic.

a-1583508454 Mar 06, 2020 07:27 AM
Coronavirus Death Connected to California Cruise Ship

How much does the city make inviting cruise ships? What is the tax receipt increase? Approx. how many vendors are positively affected? Granted, the expectation is a vast money supply finds its way into the registers of multiple businesses and it's not easy to track. But there's certainly a top 10. Once the city comprehends what's being earned, then, what do they sacrifice by cancelling all cruise ship entry? Is the money still worth it? Do fewer people cruise anyway thus dollar spending is going down even with ships? Is there now incentive to negotiate with cruise companies for some type of subsidy?

a-1583516786 Mar 06, 2020 09:46 AM
Coronavirus Death Connected to California Cruise Ship

You are right that it is difficult to know whether ,"the money is still worth it" to folks who live here and pay the bills at the City. According to a recent survey, "Cruise ships in Santa Barbara contribute almost $4 million to the economy. Passengers’ reported spending averages $110 per party". Looks like this is very important to our elected officials, pimps to the tourist industry if you look at the disneyland they have produced at our beloved East Beach. The deboarding of cruise tourists into our trolleys, buses, businesses, hotels and restaurants by the thousands must be the City's idea of economic stimulus, but it degrades the quality of life for locals who have lost their ocean front to industrialized tourism.

a-1583514601 Mar 06, 2020 09:10 AM
Coronavirus Death Connected to California Cruise Ship

Did Hotchkiss do this by fiat, or by the vote of the entire city council? How on earth did Hotchkiss hoodwink his fellow council member and our crack city staffers and their unions to get away with his masterful hoodwinking.

a-1583514458 Mar 06, 2020 09:07 AM
Coronavirus Death Connected to California Cruise Ship

26 city employees making $150,000 a year would have to be fired if they don't get their $4million dollars estimated cruise ship revenues. Or 40 city employees making $100,000. Or 10 fire for law enforcement personnel.

Thomas John Mar 06, 2020 09:01 AM
Coronavirus Death Connected to California Cruise Ship

The city and county taxes add up to 2.75%. So let's say split your 100,000 thousand to both. That means each cruise ship is generating 3 million in local sales that day (no TOT they're on a boat) to get that much tax money. We get smaller ships here - but even so - let's go with an average of 3,000 passengers. That means they are spending 1000 bucks each on their day long shore trip here. Your number seems grossly exaggerated.

Marathoner Mar 06, 2020 12:06 AM
Coronavirus Death Connected to California Cruise Ship

Proverbial curse, "may you live in interesting times", here and now. Gov won't allow them to dock until SOME passengers are tested. But if any are positive, ALL passengers must be quarantined. IMHO.
" Health officials in Placer County, where the man died, said he was "likely exposed" to the virus on board the Grand Princess.

The 62 passengers who may have come in contact with the man who died are now being confined to their staterooms on board..."

a-1583514721 Mar 06, 2020 09:12 AM
Coronavirus Death Connected to California Cruise Ship

I am exhausted. I thought Russia-gate was interesting times. I thought the Mueller Report anticipation was interesting times. I thought impeachment was interesting times times. And now I am supposed to think a case of a bad new version of the flu is interesting times too?

a-1583480859 Mar 05, 2020 11:47 PM
Coronavirus Death Connected to California Cruise Ship

Will masks be provided at the City Council meeting? If they are holding a public meeting during a health crisis then the public needs to be protected. It also is only a matter of time before we have cases here. Hope this isn't another meeting where staff Pat's themselves on the back and the council falls all over themselves to say how wonderful they are.

Nature Boy Mar 05, 2020 09:42 PM
Coronavirus Death Connected to California Cruise Ship

Great misleading & confusing article!! A quote from it: “California's first coronavirus death came from a cruise ship that's scheduled to dock in Santa Barbara later this month” then a few paragraphs later: “The Grand Princess cruise ship cancelled its travel plans and is now headed back to the San Francisco area.” WOW what great panic-media. Please, at a time like this, just report FACTS.

rainmaker Mar 06, 2020 02:07 PM
Coronavirus Death Connected to California Cruise Ship

If there is even on + then they should test and/or quarantine everyone who could have been in contact with them. This bug is highly contagious and much more lethal than regular flu.

SB_93117 Mar 06, 2020 08:25 AM
Coronavirus Death Connected to California Cruise Ship

I read the exact same confusing wording in this and am frustrated by the misleading verbiage. Also, in a recent newscast, it was confirmed that NOT ALL of the people on the ship where the man died will be test. WHY THE FREAKING HECK NOT??? EVERYONE on board should be tested!!

jqb Mar 06, 2020 01:04 AM
Coronavirus Death Connected to California Cruise Ship

It cancelled its plans to go to Ensenada--the interary was SF/Hawaii/Ensenada/SF. The coast cruise that docks in SB is a different cruise on the same ship: SF/SB/LA/San Diego/Ensenada/SF.

Shasta Guy Mar 05, 2020 04:49 PM
Coronavirus Death Connected to California Cruise Ship

All it takes is someone taking the 4hr drive down the 101 from Santa Clara to bring the virus to our community. Or a flight from Santa Clara to SBA. With cases popping up all over the Bay Area now, it wouldn’t surprise me if the first carriers are already walking among us. If you are elderly or have comprised health you need to heed all the precautions we’ve been getting bombarded with for weeks now. It’s just like the Thomas Fire: when it was near Ojai it was far away and we were complacent, but now it’s worked its way to Carp and now it seems serious.

a-1583466581 Mar 05, 2020 07:49 PM
Coronavirus Death Connected to California Cruise Ship

The Diamond Princess had the highest infection rate in the world.

a-1583461497 Mar 05, 2020 06:24 PM
Coronavirus Death Connected to California Cruise Ship

Another similar saying: do you prepare the road for the child; or prepare the child for the road. No one has found a cure for the common cold either. SFGate (SF Chronicle website) has one of the best articles out so far: How do you tell the difference between Corona, influenza and the common cold. Highly recommended read.

Shasta Guy Mar 05, 2020 05:22 PM
Coronavirus Death Connected to California Cruise Ship

The cruise ships are now just big incubators, and I’d hate to be on one now. With the state of emergency declared I’m hoping to see restrictions start taking place. There’s no stopping this thing now. All one can do now is have fastidious hygienic behaviors. I have a daughter in SF right now for a college semester away which is a cause of worry.

a-1583456812 Mar 05, 2020 05:06 PM
Coronavirus Death Connected to California Cruise Ship

SHASTA: Agree completely, I have no doubt that there is likely at least 1 person here with it, unknowingly. But in my book, that doesn't mean we want hundreds here. The fewer ppl here with it, the lower the chance of a massive outbreak. Vice versa - if 100 ppl are here with it, the more ppl those 100 can infect. We should be doing everything we can to contain. Allowing cruise ships to dock is not essential - and should not be happening.


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