34+ passengers expected to arrive in Georgia after coronavirus hits cruise ship

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — Passengers on a cruise ship hit by coronavirus could be arrive in Georgia as early as Tuesday.

Gov. Brian Kemp announced Sunday night that 34 Georgians, and additional people, will arrive at Dobbins Air Reserve Base late Monday or early Tuesday in what officials are calling a “secure transfer.”

However, Vice President Mike Pence said in a White House news conference Monday evening that passengers would not get off the boat until Tuesday.

The Grand Princess cruise ship docked in Oakland, California Monday afternoon.

The cruise ship has been kept offshore for four days, waiting as health officials tested dozens on board for the novel coronavirus after it was discovered that the ship had previously carried two people who contracted COVID-19. At least 21 people on board have tested positive, officials said.

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The ship is carrying more than 3,500 people from 54 countries.

“I am confident that Dobbins is equipped to provide high-quality care for Americans in need while keeping Georgia families safe, and our state stands ready to assist our federal partners if requested. In the days and weeks ahead, I encourage Georgians to pray for the patients affected by COVID-19 and their healthcare providers. We must continue to support one another, trust the advice of the medical community, and remain vigilant,” Kemp said.

The passengers who are infected with coronavirus will be transported to local California hospitals.

California residents who tested negative will be taken to either the Travis Air Force Base or Marine Corps Air Station Miramar for a 14-day quarantine. Then all other passengers will disembark and go to either Lackland Air Force Base in Texas or Dobbins ARB where they will be quarantined for 14 days.

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Four of the passengers are from Cobb County. On Friday, we spoke with their friends, who all attend the same Marietta church with them.

Earl and Eloise Cunningham told Channel 2 Action News that their friends have been on the cruise since Feb. 18.

What do Cobb County residents think of the plan?

Channel 2′s Berndt Petersen talked to people who live near the base about the quarantine. Neighbors had mixed feelings about the passengers being moved so close.

Neighbor Jamela Byrom didn’t mind.

“If they’re going to have them quarantined, I mean, if they’re not going to have them with other people, I really don’t think that’s an issue,” Byrom said.

Brian Barnes was a little more hesitant.

“Well, that could be a political question,” Barnes said. “Because I don’t think they should really bring them here. I’m not really concerned though. I’ve been in health care for 14 years, so I know how to take care of myself, being clean and germ-free."

The latest local cases of coronavirus

Six people in Georgia have been confirmed to have the coronavirus by the CDC.

  • Three people in Fulton County, including a father who recently traveled to Italy with his son and a person unrelated to them. The father and son are self-quarantined and recovering. The third person has not been identified and is hospitalized.
  • A 46-year-old woman in Polk County who is hospitalized.
  • One person in Cobb County who recently returned from Italy and is isolated at home.
  • A person in Floyd County under home quarantine.

There are seven total presumptive positive cases in the state.

  • Three are from Fulton County.
  • One is from Cherokee County.
  • One person in Gwinnett County, who recently traveled to Italy.
  • Two people in Cobb County.