2 coronavirus deaths linked to stricken Grand Princess cruise ship

Tribune Content Agency

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Two men are believed to be the first victims from the coronavirus-stricken cruise ship, the Grand Princess.

The Department of Health and Human Services confirmed that two men infected on board died in the last week “due to complications from the coronavirus.”

The victims were taken, along with nearly 1,000 of the other 3,400 passengers and crew, to quarantine at Travis Air Force Base. Each man was transported to a nearby medical facility when he began to show COVID-19 symptoms. The first man died March 21 and the second on Monday, two days later. Both were in their 60s.

An HHS spokesman said the staff was “deeply saddened” and wished “heartfelt condolences to both families.” Both HHS and Princess Cruise Lines offered to provide grief support to the families.

The Grand Princess set sail from San Francisco on Feb. 21 for a 15-day Hawaiian Islands cruise. Less than two weeks later, a man from the previous voyage died after showing symptoms of COVID-19, trapping the passengers and crew on board until officials were able to devise a plan to bring the ship to land.

When the ship finally docked in Oakland on March 9, 1,103 people on board chose to be tested for the respiratory illness. In an updated count provided by HHS on Thursday, 103 had tested positive and 699 negative. There are 301 tests outstanding.

Earlier this month, when the Grand Princess was stranded in the San Francisco Bay, officials uncovered 21 cases in 43 tests, with Vice President Mike Pence announcing the results at a news conference before passengers on board were informed.

Now, as it goes on over two weeks since their quarantine began, many Grand Princess passengers are finally returning home. Each is screened with one final temperature check before leaving the base.


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