Ruby Princess cruise ship docked in San Francisco with 143 cases of COVID-19

For the third time this year, the same Princess Cruise Line ship has docked in California with passengers tested positive for COVID-19.

Ruby Princess arrived in San Francisco on April 11 after a trip to Hawaii, where 143 passengers on board tested positive for the virus, the city’s health department told CBS MoneyWatch. More than 70 people were found to have COVID-19 in March while on the same ship after returning from a 15-day cruise to the Panama Canal. In January, 12 passengers who arrived in San Francisco after a 10-day cruise in Mexico on the Ruby Princess were found to have COVID-19 after being randomly tested for the virus.

Passengers on the Hawaii cruise told the San Jose Mercury News that they almost immediately noticed signs of an eruption.

“It was quite clear that a large percentage of passengers were sick, but unless you volunteered yourself, you were free to go on and infect other passengers,” California resident Ted Vomacka told Mercury News. “It was clear by observing all the coughing and hacking that some kind of infection was going around.”

The San Francisco Department of Health said everyone on board the Hawaii cruise was vaccinated and that the people tested positive showed mild or no symptoms.

“Only one person was admitted, which speaks to the incredible effectiveness of vaccination,” the department said in a statement.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now investigating Ruby Princess over the virus outbreaks along with four other Princess cruise ships where COVID-19 has appeared.

Princess is not the only cruise line still struggling with the virus. The CDC is also investigating the eruption of more than a dozen Royal Caribbean cruise ships and more than a dozen Norwegian Cruise Line ships. Cruise ships are required to notify the CDC of confirmed cases of COVID-19 on board.

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Cruise operators were hit by COVID-19 outbreaks in the early days of the pandemic, with ships carrying infected passengers excluded from docking in California and Florida. The Grand Princess, another Princess Cruises-owned ship, was quarantined at sea for six days after 21 people on board contracted the virus.

The number of people booking cruises has dropped over the last two years since the CDC warned against cruises regardless of a person’s vaccination status. In 2020 and 2021, cruise companies lost a total of $ 63 billion and lost thousands of jobs, according to industry data. The Cruise Lines International Association said the industry is expected to fully recover next year.

Princess Cruise Lines did not return requests for comment on the recent virus outbreak on Ruby Princess. In a statement to Mercury News, the company said their COVID-19 “protocols that have been established are working.”

“When cases are identified due to on-board testing, cruise ship protocols help maximize containment on board with rapid response procedures designed to protect all other guests and crew as well as the communities the ships visit,” the cruise ship company told the newspaper.

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