American passengers on the Grand Princess, a cruise ship that has been languishing off the coast of Northern California since Thursday because of the coronavirus, will be transferred to military posts in California, Texas and Georgia to be tested and for a mandatory 14-day quarantine, federal health officials said Sunday during a news conference with Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Health and Human Services officials said nearly 1,000 California residents on the ship will complete the quarantine at Travis Air Force Base north of San Francisco and Marine Corps Air Station Miramar near San Diego. Residents of other states will complete the quarantine at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas or Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Georgia.
The officials said all will be monitored for symptoms of COVID-19 throughout their quarantine, adding that crew members who tested positive for the virus would remain on the ship.
The Grand Princess ship, which has been carrying over 3,500 people from 54 countries, is expected to dock at the Port of Oakland, Calif., on Monday. It has been some 10 to 12 miles offshore since Thursday.
Of the 21 people infected aboard the ship, 19 crew members and two passengers had tested positive for COVID-19. As of Friday, only 45 of the ship’s passengers had been tested. The ship canceled its final stop in Mexico en route to San Francisco from Hawaii after officials learned a man who had been on the ship last month contracted the virus and died.
Passengers have been on the ship since Feb. 21 when they left California for Hawaii. The ship’s chief medical officer, Dr. Grant Tarling, said the company believed the man, who didn’t show any symptoms until he was on board, contracted the virus before boarding, The Mercury News reported.
Newsom said California residents will take priority, followed by non-California residents who are U.S. citizens, and then non-U.S. citizens. Those who have tested positive for the virus will be sent directly to California hospitals, officials said.
Newsom urged for patience, saying the process could take two to three days.
Federal officials said the State Department was working with the home countries of several hundred passengers to arrange for repatriation to their countries.
Fox News’ Shannon Prasad, Lucas Tomlinson, Brie Stimson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.