Cruise ship disembarks in New Orleans with at least 17 COVID instances, including a “probable” Omicron infection

New Orleans — A Norwegian Cruise Line ship with at least 17 passengers and crew members contaminated with COVID-19 docked Sunday in New Orleans, the place well being officers mentioned the ship was disembarked amid efforts to stop any unfold into the group. At least one of many contaminated crew members is suspected to have the brand new Omicron variant of the coronavirus, the Louisiana Department of Health mentioned late Sunday.
The Norwegian Breakaway arrived in the town on Sunday after departing from New Orleans on November 28 and making stops in Belize, Honduras and Mexico over the previous week.
Norwegian Cruise Line issued a assertion on Saturday confirming a “handful of COVID-19 cases among guests and crew.” The company mentioned all the recognized instances concerned individuals with out signs of the sickness.

Late Sunday night, the state well being division mentioned a complete of 17 individuals from the ship had examined constructive, nevertheless it didn’t present a breakdown of what number of have been crew and what number of have been passengers past noting that the one “probable” Omicron case was a crewmember. The individual was not a Louisiana resident and had not left the ship, the company mentioned.

The state recorded its first confirmed Omicron case on Sunday, the well being division mentioned, however that was unrelated to the Norwegian cruise liner.

Omicron variant discovered in at least 17 states


Norwegian mentioned earlier that it requires all passengers and crew members to have been vaccinated towards the coronavirus previous to departure. More than 3,200 individuals had been on board the ship, officers mentioned.

“We are testing all individuals on Norwegian Breakaway prior to disembarkation, as well as providing post-exposure and quarantine public health guidance by the (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention),” the company’s mentioned in a Saturday assertion. “Any guests who have tested positive for COVID-19 will travel by personal vehicle to their personal residence or self-isolate in accommodations provided by the company.”
The state well being division labored with the cruise line and state and native officers to comprise the outbreak.

The Norwegian Breakaway cruise ship is seen docked in New Orleans, Louisiana, on December 5, 2021. 


Some disembarking passengers advised WVUE-TV in New Orleans that they have been notified concerning the constructive instances on the ship, whereas others mentioned they’d no concept concerning the outbreak till being requested about it by a reporter.
“We didn’t hear of this until we kind of heard you talking a second ago,” mentioned Don Canole, a passenger from North Carolina. “It would have been nice to have known. We would have taken maybe a few more precautions.”
Passengers mentioned they have been examined for COVID-19 publicity on Saturday earlier than disembarking Sunday. The cruise line additionally gave passengers take-home speedy exams as they left the ship, in line with WVUE.
The company mentioned no adjustments to scheduled future sailings on the Norwegian Breakaway have been deliberate, and the ship was crusing once more early on Monday, with monitoring web sites exhibiting it headed south from New Orleans again out into the Gulf of Mexico.
Cruise ships have been an early supply of outbreaks final year at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic as some ships have been rejected at ports and passengers have been compelled into quarantine. The CDC issued a no-sail order in March 2020, prompting a standstill that ended final June as cruise ships started to depart U.S. ports with new well being and security necessities.

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