Medical officials collected samples for testing from 45 people aboard after some showed symptoms. The samples were flown to a lab in Richmond, the cruise line said.
There are more than 3,500 people aboard the Grand Princess — 2,422 guests and 1,111 crew members, Princess Cruises said. They represent 54 nationalities.
A two-week trip is cut short
The Grand Princess was on a two-week trip from San Francisco to Hawaii and was scheduled to return Saturday.
Some of those identified for testing included several who were on the Mexico voyage with the victim. At least three passengers from that trip tested positive, including the man who died.
It’s not clear when or where the ship will eventually dock, though San Francisco is a possibility, Carroll said.
No guests will be allowed to disembark until all test results are received, Princess Cruises said in a statement.
“We’re in discussions with the CDC regarding time for guests to access the open deck for fresh air and exercise,” the captain says, referring to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A race to trace possible infections
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency, saying local health officials are working with their federal counterparts to trace people who had contact with the man who died.
Princess Cruises has shared relevant data with the CDC to help notify state and county health officials, who will follow up with anyone who may have been exposed to coronavirus, cruise line officials said.
Meanwhile, as the ship awaits test results, the captain asked all guests to stay 6 feet from others.
“Cruise ships are posing probably one of the biggest challenges that we are seeing in this outbreak,” said Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, infectious diseases director at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
“We know these cruise ships are essentially … we’ve been calling them incubators, they are incredibly very healthy environments for the pathogens that we’re talking about.”
Another cruise ship was linked to the virus
It’s not clear what will happen to the Grand Princess passengers after test results come back.
“The problem with the Diamond (Princess) cruise ship, as we’ve learned, was that when you quarantine people like that, with a few possible infected people, the likelihood of infecting many more people goes up,” CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said.