Celebrity Eclipse cruise passenger, 3 crew members test positive for COVID-19

Posted at 2:10 PM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-31 19:55:45-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A cruise ship passenger and three crew members who arrived in San Diego on Monday have since tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

County spokesperson José Álvarez confirmed a passenger on the Celebrity Eclipse, which arrived in San Diego Monday, has tested positive for COVID-19. Tuesday afternoon, county health officials revealed that 3 crew members, who had been self-isolating, also tested positive.

County health officials said they were notified before the ship came in that one passenger had a heart ailment and "possible" pneumonia. The passenger was taken to a hospital Monday and later tested positive for COVID-19.

RELATED: San Diego issues health orders on cruise ships amid COVID-19

Deborah Filgate and her husband were among the 2,500 passengers on board that cruise. "We've been told all the way through that we were absolutely fine, no one sick at all, so it's a bit strange," said Filgate.

Filgate and the other passengers went through a health screening before they were allowed to leave the ship.

"We were very relieved to leave the ship, but thinking about what that might have represented to the people you came in contat with, it's not such a great feeling now," said Filgate.

A letter from Celebrity Cruises was sent to passengers reading, "because you were a passenger on this same voyage, it is possible you were exposed to someone who was sick with COVID-19."

The letter goes on to direct passengers to complete a 14-day isolation. The passenger is not a San Diego County resident. The passenger is in the hospital in serious condition.

"There is no change in the plan of disembarking the remaining passengers today," Álvarez said regarding the ship. "They will be screened prior to departure and only those who are asymptomatic and without fever are allowed to leave and proceed to transportation out of the county."

A statement from the cruise line to 10News read:

"We received clearance from port authorities and public health officials to disembark our guests and return them safely to their homes. No guests or crewmembers reported with symptoms throughout the sailing, and guests are going through exit health screenings when they leave the ship. We remain in continuous contact with public health authorities and appreciate their guidance to protect the well-being of our guests and crew."

Monday, Dr. Eric McDonald, the county's medical director of epidemiology, said 17 San Diegans were on the Celebrity Eclipse. Those individuals will complete their quarantine locally. The other passengers will travel home for their quarantines.

McDonald said Monday the passengers were all in good health.

RELATED: Grand Princess cruise passengers complete two week quarantine at MCAS Miramar

The Celebrity Eclipse was the last cruise ship allowed to unload its more than 2,300 passengers in San Diego, before county leaders issued new public health orders preventing cruise ships from disembarking passengers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this month, the Disney Wonder had one passenger and one crew member who each tested positive and are currently hospitalized. There are also two pending cases related to the ship and was one emergency evacuation from the ship, McDonald added.