Up to two dozen passengers of the Grand Princess will head to a California state beach on the Monterey Peninsula for a mandatory 14-day quarantine after they disembark from the cruise ship — where at least 21 people have tested positive for the coronavirus, officials said.
During their temporary stay at the Asilomar State Beach and Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, the individuals will be housed in a cluster of buildings “removed from visitors and the public, and will not interact with other Asilomar guests, employees or the general public,” according to a statement from the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.
“Public health and safety is the responsibility of every level of government,” Pacific Grove City Councilwoman Amy Tomlinson said in a statement. “Pacific Grove is working closely with our state and federal partners to ensure the highest level of safety is provided for our community.”
Though none of those who will be moved to Asilomar are known to have contracted the novel coronavirus, officials said they will continue to be monitored and tested by medical professionals.
All of those being moved have already been screened, officials said, but because they have mild symptoms that do not require hospitalization, they can’t be quarantined at Travis Air Force Base in Solano County, another housing location to isolate California residents who were aboard the Grand Princess.
“These residents have endured a lot of stress in the last few days, and our top priority is to protect their health — and the public health of California — until they can return to their homes,” state Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said in a statement. “We understand people across California are concerned about novel coronavirus, and that’s why we’re collaborating with our federal partners to ensure that the community surrounding Asilomar is not impacted.”
California State Parks Director Lisa Mangat said her agency “is ready to step up and support these Americans who need our assistance, and we continue to make the health and safety of visitors, employees and the public our top priority.”
The Grand Princess docked in Oakland on Monday and began the painstaking process of unloading thousands of passengers, all of whom were potentially exposed to the coronavirus. Wednesday marks the third day of disembarkment.
Gov. Gavin Newsom previously said most of the 962 California residents aboard the ship who did not need immediate medical attention would be taken to Travis Air Force Base for 14 days of quarantine, with a smaller number going to the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego County. The other American passengers would be sent to military bases in Texas and Georgia, while foreign passengers would be flown to their home countries, officials said.
“The nation and indeed the rest of the world is watching how our community reacts to this situation,” Monterey County District 5 Supervisor Mary Adams said in a statement. “We have an opportunity to provide an example of a compassionate humanitarian response.”