SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Grand Princess Cruise Ship has mostly disappeared from headlines recently as the United States continues to be inundated with news of "stay at home" orders and toilet paper shortages amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The 15-day cruise, which carried a total of 2,400 guests and more than 1,000 crew members, docked in Oakland after 21 passengers tested for coronavirus — 19 of which were crew members.
Two of the passengers on that cruise ship died in recent days due to complications from coronavirus, the Department of Health and Human Services confirmed Wednesday.
Immediately after developing COVID-19 symptoms, one of the passengers was transported to a hospital, and the other was quarantined at Travis Air Force Base before later developing symptoms and getting transferred to the hospital.
Meanwhile, some passengers on the Grand Princess Cruise Ship have finally made it home this week after finishing a two-week quarantine period at Travis Air Force Base.
Carolyn Wyler and her husband Ken Welton were on a 15-day family trip aboard the Grand Princess Cruise Ship, visiting the Hawaiian islands and Mexico.
But on the way to Ensenada, Mexico they were told plans were changing after a passenger from a previous voyage on the same ship died of coronavirus.
"We could tell something was up, because on the TV in the room, you could see the course of the boat," Welton recalled, "and all of a sudden, instead of Ensenada — it turned north."
The ship docked in the Oakland, but before the passengers could be quarantined elsewhere, they spent days — some more than a week — aboard the ship.
"I woke up the first night about 1 o'clock, just looked out our window and I saw those black suburbans and flood lights,” Wyler said. "This is so surreal. This is so bizarre. I felt like I was in jail."
Nearly 1,000 passengers on board were from California, and many of them were sent to Travis Air Force base, including Wyler and Welton, neither of whom got sick while on the ship.
The couple said they kept themselves entertained in quarantine by making videos and getting exercise.
"We weren't locked in," Wyler said. "We could walk the grounds and the side of the fence. We did. Everybody did."
They were allowed to go back home Monday after two weeks at Travis Air Force Base and will finish out the last hours of their quarantine at home.
"After our quarantine was over, all of our neighbors came by and yelled at us from the street," Welton said. "They sang and it was fun. It was really nice."
Now, the two will spend most of their time inside of their Sacramento home as people across the state have been ordered to stay home in order to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
For Wyler, that means not letting the anxiety she had on the ship continue while at home.
"Being at home you just have to not let the anxiety get to you which is sometimes hard," Wyler said. "Find things to keep you busy and entertained."
Follow the conversation on Facebook with Ananda Rochita.
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