A couple from Davis is aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship that is docked in Oakland after at least 21 people aboard tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
For Denise Morse and her husband, David, it was a cruise that started with a Pacific voyage, whale-watching and a stop in Hawaii that turned into something quite different.
"Two men in hazmat suits came to our door about 10 last night and woke us up and they interviewed us," Denise Morse said before hinting just how common interactions with medical personnel have been the last few days. "Just the standard flu questions to see if we had any symptoms, and we didn't. So, they told us to pack our bags in the morning, eat a good breakfast, shower, put on our cleanest clothes and be ready to go."
Last Thursday is when things changed.
"Right after lunch they made an announcement that we were all to go to our staterooms and stay in our staterooms until further notice," Denise Morse said from the ship Monday. "And that's when they told us we weren't going to be going to Ensenada [in Mexico] because the man that was on this cruise before us had had coronavirus and had died."
The person was a Placer County patient who became the first COVID-19 death in California. Morse says she and her husband had not seen anyone who appeared ill, but heard from crew members that some of their co-workers were sick. The couple had nothing but praise for the employees.
"We feel well-taken-care-of," she said. "We feel really lucky that we have a balcony. There are families on this ship that have five kids. I hope they have bigger rooms or bigger balconies than we have. I can't complain."
She says she expects the offloading process to take some time.
"I hope tomorrow," Morse said. "All of the California people are supposed to be taken off first and then people from other states and then the other countries."
Morse doesn't know where she will spend the 14 days under quarantine. She was told most of the California passengers would be taken to Travis Air Force Base with the remainder going to Miramar in Southern California.
On Sunday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said that most the 962 California passengers would go to Travis, except for those who are showing symptoms or need medical attention. Those from other states would be sent to military bases in Texas and Georgia.
She says the cruise line has offered a refund and a free cruise.
The couple says they don’t typically drink, but they will deboard with a small bottle of gin and Jack Daniels, courtesy of the cruise line that will keep them company during the next two weeks.
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