Cruise ship with 10 positive COVID cases heads for New Orleans, health officials say

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Richard Drew/AP file

A cruise ship with a COVID-19 outbreak on board is heading toward New Orleans, Louisiana health officials said.

A Norwegian Cruise Lines ship with 10 COVID-19 cases will disembark in the city over the weekend, the Louisiana Department of Health said Saturday, Dec. 4.

More than 3,200 people are on board the ship, health officials said.

The ship left New Orleans on Nov. 28 for a trip to Belize, Honduras and Mexico. It was set to return this weekend.

Health officials said the cruise line has been following all quarantine and isolation protocols on the ship.

Every person on the ship will be tested for COVID-19 before they leave, according to the health department.

“Those who test positive for COVID-19 will either (1) travel by personal vehicle directly to their personal residence or (2) self-isolate according to current CDC guidelines in accommodations provided by NCL,” health officials said in a news release.

Norwegian Cruise Lines requires all passengers and crew to be fully vaccinated, according to its policies. Guests were also required to take a COVID-19 test before boarding.

Passengers aren’t required to wear marks or social distance while on a Norwegian cruise, according to the company website. All restaurants and experiences are open on the cruises, and there are no capacity restrictions.

“All of the identified cases onboard are asymptomatic,” the cruise line said in a Dec. 5 statement. “In addition to requiring that 100% of guests and crew are fully vaccinated, per the Company’s comprehensive health and safety protocols, we have implemented quarantine, isolation and contact tracing procedures for identified cases.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the chance of getting COVID-19 on a cruise ship is high. The virus can spread easily in close quarters on a ship, the CDC said.

Between June 26 and Oct. 21, cruise ships reported 1,359 positive COVID-19 cases to the CDC, according to a report from the CDC.

“The resumption of passenger voyages in the U.S. has led to the introduction and sustained transmission of COVID-19 among cruise ships, despite high vaccination rates among both crew and passengers,” the CDC said in the report. “Cruise ships have experienced increased numbers of COVID-19 cases among passengers and crew.”

The CDC said people who go on a cruise should get tested for COVID-19 before their tip and up to five days after their trip, even if they are vaccinated.

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