A Maryland couple is among hundreds of cruise passengers still in mandatory quarantine on a military base after taking a cruise where others on board tested positive for the new coronavirus.
“I was on a 15-day Princess cruise from San Francisco that went to Hawaii,” said Arlinda Peyton.
She and her husband, Willie Peyton, live in Mt. Airy, and they were on their way back from their dream vacation celebrating their 25-year wedding anniversary when they learned 19 people on board the ship tested positive for coronavirus.
“We knew we were going to go to quarantine. We were told it could be 14 days. We were all thinking we could come here, get a test, and it would be negative and we could go home. Well, I don’t even think they have tests — I don’t know,” Arlinda Peyton said.
- Sign up for news alerts from WTOP
- Closings and delays
- DC-area events canceled, postponed amid coronavirus outbreak
- Coronavirus tips: Use common sense, don’t panic over DC-area cases
- Coronavirus test results in DC, Maryland and Virginia
- Coronavirus FAQ: What you need to know
- What federal agencies are planning
Rather than returning to San Francisco, where they were not allowed to dock, the ship finally came into port in nearby Oakland. Peyton said they were brought to Dobbins Air Force Base in Georgia, where they are staying in an extended stay hotel, usually occupied by visiting officers.
Initially, 66-year-old Peyton and her 81-year-old husband were told their quarantine started when they got off the ship. Then they were told it actually started when they got on base. When another group arrived the following day, officials pushed it back again.
She said the communication with anyone in charge has been abysmal.
“We are given no information. We have not been offered testing … They’re feeding us three times a day, they’re housing us and they’re done with us,” she said.
The Department of Defense is working with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to support passengers returning to the United States on the Grand Princess cruise ship. (1 of 6)
— U.S. Northern Command (@USNorthernCmd) March 9, 2020
Anecdotally, Peyton said she knows that some passengers do not have their luggage, and others are not in good health because they’ve had difficulty getting needed medications sent in.
But, Peyton said, after getting another supply of their daily medications sent by family, they’re in good shape.
President Donald Trump has said tests are expected to become available within days.