Federal officials: Grand Princess cruise ship evacuees headed to JBSA-Lackland, 3 other quarantine sites

The ship is expected to dock temporarily in a non-passenger port in San Francisco Bay, officials say

Flight with quarantined passengers from cruise ship lands at JBSA-Lackland
Flight with quarantined passengers from cruise ship lands at JBSA-Lackland

SAN ANTONIOUpdate:

Officials say the coronavirus quarantine passengers from the Grand Princess cruise ship will be quarantined at four federal military sites, including Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.

According to a release from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the ship will dock temporarily in a non-passenger port in San Francisco Bay. The passengers will then be transferred to federal military installations for medical screening, coronavirus testing and a 14-day quarantine.

Nearly 1,000 passengers who are California residents will be quarantined at Travis Air Force Base and Miramar Naval Air Station, officials said. The remaining passengers, who are residents of states outside of California, will be quarantined at JBSA-Lackland in San Antonio or Dobbins Air Force Base in Georgia.

During the quarantine, officials say the evacuees will be monitored for symptoms of COVID-19.

The exact number of evacuees coming to JBSA-Lackland has not yet been released, but there were about 3,500 passengers on the cruise ship. Governor Greg Abbott’s office has indicated that the evacuees coming here include about 90 Texans.

The Department of State says it is currently working with the home countries of several hundred other passengers “to arrange for repatriation."

Original:

More coronavirus quarantine patients are coming to Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, as announced by Governor Greg Abbott’s communications director.

The passengers will be coming from the Grand Princess cruise ship in California, where more than 3,500 people are stuck aboard and at least 21 of them are infected with the coronavirus, according to a CNN report.

The governor’s office didn’t specify exactly how many evacuees would be housed at Lackland, but did say that 90 of them are Texans.

It’s unclear when the passengers will arrive at JBSA-Lackland.

After Governor Abbott spoke with Vice President Pence, officials say it was decided that the passengers would be taken to JBSA-Lackland and not released into the general public.

All of the passengers will stay at JBSA-Lackland under quarantine until they are cleared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Once the passengers are cleared, officials say the Texans will be released to return home and the non-Texans will be able to return to their home state using the same protocol as the passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

The full statement, on behalf of Governor Abbott, can be read below:

“Governor Abbott has spoken with Vice President Pence regarding the repatriation of American citizens, including approximately 90 Texans, to Lackland Air Force Base from the Grand Princess Cruise ship off the coast of California. These passengers will not be released into the general public. All of the repatriated citizens will remain at Lackland under quarantine until they clear the revised and heightened testing protocol to ensure they are not affected by the COVID-19 virus. Once cleared, Texans will be released to return home while non-Texans will be safely transported to their home state using the same public safety protocol used for the Diamond Princess passengers who were previously quarantined at Lackland."

According to a CNN report, the passengers from the Grand Princess were traveling for two weeks from San Francisco to Hawaii until officials learned a California man that traveled on the ship last month tested positive for coronavirus.

The man died this week from the disease, per CNN.

There are several coronavirus cases in Texas, including six presumptive positive cases in Fort Bend County, two cases in Harris County, one confirmed and one presumptive positive case in Houston, one possible case “under investigation” in Montgomery County, and nine in San Antonio.

3 more presumptive positive coronavirus cases reported in Fort Bend County

At one time, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in San Antonio had peaked at 11, but two of those patients were cleared by the CDC and released to return home on Friday.

The San Antonio patients are Americans who contracted the virus in Asia and were evacuated to quarantine at JBSA-Lackland in February. One of those patients was prematurely released into the community for 12 hours last week, prompting a local health emergency.

JBSA-Lackland housed 235 coronavirus evacuees for quarantine earlier this year. All but nine with confirmed coronavirus were released after their quarantine period.

This is a developing story and we’ll bring more updates as they become available.

This story was orginally reported by KPRC 2 sister station KSAT.


About the Authors:

Cody King is a digital journalist for KSAT 12. She previously worked for WICS/WRSP 20 in Springfield, Illinois.

Julie Moreno has worked in local television news for more than 20 years. She came to KSAT as a news producer in 2000. After producing thousands of newscasts, she transitioned to the digital team in 2015. She writes on a wide variety of topics from breaking news to trending stories and manages KSAT’s daily digital content strategy.