GEORGIA — Passengers of a cruise ship hit by the new coronavirus are headed to Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Cobb County.
The passengers were on a cruise ship off the coast of California and have not tested positive for the virus. They are set to arrive at the base as early as Monday.
Channel 2′s Audrey Washington was outside Dobbins, where Gov. Brian Kemp said the 34 Georgian passengers will be tested for the virus and quarantined.
The passengers are currently on a Grand Princess cruise ship where 21 other people have tested positive for the virus.
Princess Cruises says the ship is expected to arrive in California on Monday. It is currently about 2 1/2 hours away from port, officials said Sunday. The ship is carrying more than 3,500 people from 54 countries.
In addition to the 34 Georgians, some additional citizens will be transferred to the base, but it’s unclear which passengers.
Kemp released the following statement Sunday morning:
“I have learned that thirty-four Georgians and additional American citizens from the eastern United States who are currently on the Grand Princess cruise ship off the California coast will be securely transferred to Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Georgia. These passengers will undergo testing and be quarantined for possible exposure to COVID-19. They are expected to arrive at Dobbins late Monday, March 9 or early Tuesday, March 10.
"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.
"My office remains in constant communication with the Trump Administration, lawmakers, and state and local officials to ensure the health and safety of families across Georgia and our country. We will continue to provide updates as soon as they become available."
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 boat is set to dock at the port in Oakland Monday and the Georgia passengers should arrive in Marietta by late Monday or early Tuesday.
Four of those 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.