MARIETTA, Ga. — The first wave of passengers from a cruise ship hit by coronavirus has arrived at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta after being held off the coast of California for days.
Sources with direct knowledge of the operation told Channel 2 Cobb County Bureau Chief Chris Jose that two planes will carry 271 passengers from Oakland, California to Marietta.
The first flight arrived in Marietta early Wednesday morning. Dobbins officials did not say how many of the 271 passengers were on the first flight.
“Prior to arriving here, the passengers were medically screened by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The passengers who were asymptomatic were transferred here and other federal military installations for COVID-19 testing and quarantine,” the base said.
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One of those passengers is Charlotte Hipps from Cobb County. As of Tuesday night at 11:30 p.m., Hipps and her friends were still on board the Grand Princess cruise ship that been held off the coast in California.
But Hipps and her friends are ready to come home.
“I think that is the best news I’ve heard in many days. I’m so appreciative that they’ve come to that conclusion,” Hipps said.
“When we heard it was Dobbins, we were thrilled. And now, to hear that we get to go home, that is even more wonderful. We’re very excited."
The first plane arrived at Dobbins in the very early hours of Wednesday morning.
Sources confirmed to Jose that the 34 passengers from Georgia will be taken to their homes to self-quarantine.
Other passengers from the East Coast will stay at Dobbins and Clay National Guard Center in Cobb County for 14 days.
“We’ve already been under self-imprisonment for 5 days. So, I don’t know. Another 14 days will be almost too much,” Hipps said.
Hipps celebrated her 80th birthday on the cruise and has texted with her close friends back home with updates.
She told Jose that she’s ready for a long trip home to Georgia.
“We’re elated. We are very happy,” Hipps said.
The state says there are 151 beds available at Dobbins and 190 beds at the National Guard center for the passengers once they arrive.
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