Grand Princess cruise passengers complete two week quarantine at MCAS Miramar

Posted at 4:26 PM, Mar 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-24 19:27:27-04

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KGTV) -- After being under a federally mandated quarantine at MCAS Miramar for two weeks, Steven and Michele Smith are finally heading home to Paradise, California.

"Tomorrow morning we're putting our bags on the other side of that door and we're heading on a bus to the airport. We're going to rent a car and drive 600 miles home," said Steven Smith in a Skype interview with 10News.

The two would have been back home weeks ago after their planned cruise to Hawaii, but due to a coronavirus outbreak on the Grand Princess cruise ship they were on, they and all other passengers had to go into quarantine once their ship finally docked in Oakland.

"My sister is taking care of my birds, my daughter is taking care of my dog, and then my friend is taking care of our cat," said Michele Smith.

The Smiths will complete their 14-day quarantine Tuesday and drive home Wednesday.

Health and Human Services officials tell us nearly 50 people quarantined at Miramar left Tuesday, and the remaining 130 people will be discharged over the next two days.

For nearly two weeks, their temperatures were checked twice a day.

The Smiths mostly remained inside of a room at the Consolidated Bachelor Quarters on base, had food delivered three times a day, and only stepped outside occasionally.

"You can go out and walk outside, they have a fenced-in area that they keep us inside of," said Steven Smith.

They were tested for COVID-19 and got their results back Monday.

"It was just a weird test, to have somebody shove something up your nose that far back into your nasal cavity," Steven Smith explained.

"But we tested negative!" added an excited Michele. "So, we are virus free 100 percent."

They are thrilled to be heading home healthy and say their positive attitude and sense of humor helped get them through this unusual time.

Michele leaves others just starting their quarantine with this advice, "I would recommend to all the people out there, now is not the time to bring up negative things or things that could create conflict, but just to love on each other, laugh and enjoy each other."