Cruise Bruise News Wednesday Wow – March 11, 2020 –
Seattle Washington University Begins Free Covid-19 Testing (see video below)
The coronavirus test works best when taken within three to four days of when symptoms begin. Patient 1 says, “They took different kinds of swabs than the ER.”, patient 1 says. “The ER took a nasal swab (inside my nostrils) and these swabs were nasopharyngeal, which (to my knowledge) is considered a superior specimen.”
Her insurance plan is entirely the University of Washington based – an option for UW employees – which means that her doctor, emergency room, public health and employer are part of the same system. It would be even harder, she believes, for people whose care is spread across various medical systems.
Washington Governor Inslee Limits 250 Gathering Size
Gov. Jay Inslee held a news conference here Wednesday morning to outline new strategies aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus in communities throughout Washington.
Inslee announced a ban on events and social gatherings attended by more than 250 people. Initially the prohibition would be imposed only in Snohomish, King and Pierce counties, the state’s three most populous. The largest concentration of confirmed coronavirus cases are in King and Snohomish counties.
It’s unclear if the 250 people ban will apply to cruise ships calling in Seattle next month.
Florida Couple Files Princess Cruises Coronavirus Lawsuit
On Saturday, March 7, 2o20, Ronald and Eva Weissberger, of Broward County, Florida file a lawsuit (case: Ronald Weissberger et al v. Princess Cruise Lines Ltd 2:2020cv02267) against Princess Cruises, seeking more than $1 million in damages, according to the lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles.
There were 3,500 passengers and crew members aboard Grand Princess who were held off the coast of San Francisco, California for days after two passengers and 19 crew members tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Grand Princess Refused San Francisco Docking
California Gov. Gavin Newsom did not allow Grand Princess to dock with 2,422 passengers and 1,111 crew members on board. He also declared a state of emergency for California. Grand Princess instead docked in Oakland, California.
The first patient to die of the new coronavirus in California was on the Grand Princess from February 11 to 21. Grand Princess is now sitting off the coast of California, near San Francisco, waiting for test results from 45 current passengers and crew members.
On Sunday, the State Department said U.S. citizens, especially with underlying conditions, should not travel by cruise ship.
In his message broadcast to passengers in their rooms Tuesday morning, the captain apologized for the lack of information over the past few days.
“We have not been receiving timely or accurate information from the government agencies who have developed and are managing the disembarkation plan, making it virtually impossible for me to prepare you and guide you on their processes,” the captain told passengers.
On Tuesday, the Grand Princess cruise ship disembarked all of its passengers in Oakland, California after a string of coronavirus cases brought the ship into port. But 19 crew members who tested positive for the virus will remain on the ship with more than 1,000 other staff, Princess Cruises said in an email update on Tuesday.
Westerdam Cleaning Before Alaska Cruise Begin
Holland America Line cruise ship Westerdam is expected to undergo a cleaning protocol approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) before arriving in Juneau, Alaska. Westerdam is scheduled to dock in the port around March 22 after being denied permission to enter five ports over concerns about the virus that causes the disease called COVID-19.
The City and Borough of Juneau would not be able to prevent the Westerdam from staying in the port without declaring a civil emergency, which would require a reason to believe the ship presents a danger to residents, Cosgrove said.
“We’re obviously not going to put the community at risk,” Cosgrove said.
Monterey California Stops Cruise Ships Harbor Anchoring
The city of Monterey has canceled all cruise ships from entering the bay. All visits scheduled for March and April have been canceled.
The Princess Cruises ship Royal Princess has canceled visits to Monterey on March 31, April 14, and April 28.
Holland America Line cruise ship Maasdam has canceled their April 29 visit
City Manager Hans Uslar said that out of an abundance of caution he asked cruise ship agencies Friday to cancel upcoming cruises into Monterey Bay and they complied.
Port of Seattle Cruise Ship Sailing Impacts
The Port of Seattle says cruise season is scheduled to run from April 1 until October 19, but concerns about coronavirus could impact the upcoming season. The Port of Seattle is reviewing its options and talking with their partners ahead of the upcoming cruise season.
The Grand Princess, which docked in the Bay Area in California this week after 21 of the ship’s 3,500 passengers and crew members tested positive for the virus, was set to sail from Seattle’s Pier 66 on April 1. The second ship, Celebrity Eclipse, was set to stop in Seattle on April 5.
Port of Seattle officials said both cruises are “port of call” sailings, meaning the ships make a one-day stop in Seattle on its way to another destination.
“This region is in a public health emergency and we will postpone the start of cruise season by at least two weeks,” said Port of Seattle Commission President Peter Steinbrueck. “The health, safety, and well-being of our residents is our top priority.”
No other Seattle cruises have been canceled, but port and industry leaders will continue to evaluate as the outbreak continues. The next scheduled cruise is April 15.
At Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
- In response to the spread of the virus, the U.S. Federal Government has implemented travel restrictions, which include:
- Suspending entry of foreign nationals who have been in China or Iran within the past 14 days.
- Raising the travel advisories for certain regions in Italy and South Korea to the highest level, Level 4 “Do Not Travel.”
- Screening Americans in Italy and South Korea before they travel to the United States.
- Routing any U.S. citizen returning to the United States who has been in Hubei Province, China, in the previous 14 days through one of 20 U.S. airports (including Seattle-Tacoma International Airport) that have established enhanced screening protocols by CDC. Travelers who visited China, but not the Hubei Province, will be screened by federal officials and asked to self-isolate for 14 days.
The Port, public health organizations, and federal partners are taking the following actions to help prevent the spread of the virus and keep travelers and employees safe:
- Public health staff will proactively monitor for signs of ill passengers who present signs and symptoms of disease. This screening builds on established infections disease protocols, which includes reviewing information received from pilots, flight attendants, or crew who are trained to spot and report symptoms. This also provides an opportunity to educate passengers on steps they should take if they do develop symptoms.
- The CDC, Customs and Border Protection Agency, the Port fire department, and other airport partners have infectious disease response plans in place that are reviewed, practiced, and updated throughout the year.
- As of March 9, the Port of Seattle has installed 119 hand sanitizers in and around the terminal. This includes sanitizer stations at the checkpoints, in the skybridges, common use ticket kiosks areas, the 3rd floor garage areas where the TNC’s are locations (Uber, Lyft, etc), and rental car bus stops. The Port intends to install an additional 200 dispensers.
- The Port of Seattle has implemented enhanced disinfection protocols in high-touch areas throughout the airport.
Traveling right now? Find the closest hand sanitizer to your gate.
At Maritime Facilities
- The CDC is the main federal response agency for maritime vessels. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) has forwarded precautionary information to vessel owners/operators and local stakeholders.
- The Northwest Seaport Alliance and Washington state ports are in communication with each other and the United States Coast Guard through the USCG Area Maritime Security Committee (AMSC) which was established to be prepared for events such as this.
- Our seasonal cruise season is scheduled to begin on April 1. We appreciate the work of the federal government and cruise lines to institute new protocols related to cruise passenger safety, health, and wellbeing. This is a rapidly developing situation and we are in daily contact with officials.
- The safety, health, and well-being of cruise passengers, employees, community, and first responders always comes first. Therefore, we are actively reviewing multiple options about the launch of the 2020 cruise season with our cruise operators, the United States Coast Guard, public health authorities, and local leaders.
- We are using the time before cruise season starts to closely coordinate with our partners. We will report back to the public soon with further information about our upcoming plans for the season
- As of March 8, the Center for Disease Control is recommending that travelers, especially older adults and those with underlying health issues avoid taking cruises and “non-essential” travel, including long plane rides.
Washington Ground Zero Coronavirus Covide-19 Cases
Another three deaths were reported by King County health officials Monday afternoon while a fourth person was reported to have died at Overlake Medical Center later in the day. The three deaths bring the official state death count to 22 but the death at Overlake has not yet been recorded in the state’s official tally.
Three of the newly confirmed deaths were elderly women who had been residents at Kirkland’s Life Care facility, King County health officials said.
Seattle Events CLOSED, CANCELED, OR POSTPONED:
- The Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank announced will be closed the week of March 9-14 to help reduce the risk of exposure. This includes food and clothing donations, shopping, all programs, volunteering, and meetings. Officials said the closure will allow staff time to create an alternative operations and distribution plan.
- The city of Redmond announced on Wednesday that all senior programs are canceled and Bytes Cafe is closed for drop-in until further notice. The following events are also canceled:
- Friday, March 6: Winter Whimsy at City Hall.
- Friday, March 6: Family Movie Night at Redmond Community Center at Marymoor Village.
- The Poverty Bay Wine Festival scheduled for March 7 is canceled “due to community health concerns.” The Rotary Club of Des Moines and Normandy Park said if you purchased tickets to the festival, they can be used for the Blues and Brews event on August 29, 2020.
- The Kirkland Shamrock Run scheduled for March 14 has been canceled. Event officials said they have emailed all registered participants informing them of the cancelation. Another email will be sent Thursday with information on how organizers plan to proceed.
- The annual Big Climb, a fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, that was scheduled for March 24 is postponed.
- Several REI employees confirm the company closed their corporate campuses until Thursday for deep cleaning. This does not impact REI retail stores.
- The Seattle Immigration Office closed after an employee visited the Life Care Center in Kirkland, a nursing home seemingly at the center of a possible outbreak.
- Emerald City Comic Con has been postponed. It was scheduled for March 12-15. Organizers are hoping to secure a date for the event later this year, but no official dates have been announced yet. Attendees are able to get a refund.
Microsoft changed an employee summit planned for Redmond and Bellevue to an online-only event. The event was scheduled for March 15-20.
GeekWire reports a new downtown Seattle skyscraper was closed Monday over coronavirus concerns: F5 Networks closed its downtown Seattle office building on Monday for cleaning after an employee came in contact with someone who had tested positive for coronavirus. The network infrastructure and security technology company employs about 1,500 people at the new F5 Tower that opened in November.
Domestic travel inside the U.S. is considered safe. If you’re traveling out of the country, check for travel notices for your destination. The U.S. government warns Americans to avoid non-essential travel to China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea.
Some airlines are offering waivers due to coronavirus.
Another Cruise Ship Infected With Coronavirus
A dozen Houston-area residents have tested positive for the new coronavirus after sailing aboard Phoenix Reisen ship MS A’Sara, which was quarantined in Egypt. Infected residents from Maryland, Florida and California have been linked to travel in Egypt or to the MS A’Sara cruise.
Fourth Princess Cruise Ship Delayed Docking With Coronavirus
The Caribbean Princess will keep passengers and crew from disembarking after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave it a “no sail order.” The CDC gave the order because two crew members had transferred from the California Princess ship where a passenger tested positive, the company said.
The crew members are “asymptomatic” and staying alone in their rooms “out of an abundance of caution” as the ship makes its way to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Princess Cruises said in a statement. The ship was originally scheduled to return to Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday.
Oasis of the Seas Passenger Overboard Puerto Rico Identified
The United States Coast Guard San Juan Sector (USCG) was contacted by Puerto Rico police’s marine unit in regards to a passenger overboard, approximately from the 10th-floor deck of the ship. CCTV footage caught someone jumping from the boat, but the Coast Guard has not confirmed the man’s death as a suicide, indicating other factors could be at play. Thursday morning, the United States Coast Guard said a video shows the 46-year-old man made a clean jump from the 10-story deck and dropped 177 feet. Read more: Cruise Ship Deaths
White House Press Release Cruise Coronavirus
THE PRESIDENT: “It’s true. Very true. And we are working very closely with the cruise line industry and — very, very closely. They’re taking very strong steps in terms of people going on and going off. But they’re spending a lot of money and they are working very hard. And we’re work [sic] — we’re going to be helping that industry. Likewise, with the airline industry, they’re taking very, very strong steps for people coming into our country, even getting off the planes. So we are working very closely with them. We’re helping them. They’re two great industries, and we’ll be helping them through this patch.
And, so far, I think it’s been going very well. You know all about the big ship that came in yesterday. And that’s going along incredibly well.
We’re working with the state of California successfully — very successfully — and also with Canada and with the UK. So, the UK is taking their people, their citizens back, and Canada is about 600 people; they’re coming back. They’re being met and brought to planes and being brought very, very — in a very, very dignified fashion back into Canada. So we appreciate all of the help we’ve had in that. And that’s working out very well.”
Video: Seattle Begins Free Covide-19 Testing