LONG BEACH (CBSLA) — A cruise ship passenger is the first coronavirus death in California. Now, many other Californians who were on that ship are also at risk.
California Governor Gavin Newsom called a State of Emergency Wednesday “to make additional resources available, formalize emergency actions already underway across multiple state agencies and departments, and help the state prepare for broader spread of COVID-19,” according to his office.
The news came as California confirmed its first death due to the virus: a 71-year-old man from northern California.
According to the CDC, the man had just returned from Mexico aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship that left San Francisco February 11, stopped at four ports in Mexico, then returned to San Francisco February 21. He and most of the other passengers got off the ship but 62 others at risk of infection remained on-board to cruise to the Hawaii islands. The ship stopped at four ports there.
On Wednesday night, that ship sat docked off the coast of northern California until passengers and crew were tested for COVID-19.
In a statement issued Wednesday night from Princess Cruises, a spokesperson said: “In an abundance of caution, these guests and other potential close crew contacts have been asked to remain in their staterooms until screened by our on-board medical team. The safety, health and well-being of our guests and crew is always our top priority.”
News of the screenings came days after the the Emerald Princess came into port hours before its scheduled arrival Friday.
The Los Angeles City Fire Department said it received a call for help and deployed ambulances to the port. When paramedics arrived, two people had suffered unknown injuries on the ship and two others were suffering from unknown illnesses. According to Princess Cruises’ website, the illnesses were not related to the coronavirus.
In Monrovia, however, school officials say they are taking extra precautions after a parent who works in the healthy industry told district officials they may have come in contact with someone who had contracted the novel coronavirus.
According to Monrovia Unified School District President Rob Hammond, that person has two student who attend the middle school.
Hammond said two students as well as the parent have self-quarantined, although neither the parent nor the students are symptomatic.
The school was scheduled to undergo a deep cleaning before classes were scheduled to begin Thursday.
“The well-being of our students and staff is our top priority. Monrovia Unified School District will continue to work closely with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health in a coordinated effort to address the many issues that COVID-19 presents,” a statement from the district read in part.
Meanwhile, Wednesday night, many were stocking up on the essentials, emptying shelves at target of isopropyl alcohol, hand sanitizer and toilet paper — preparing for the outbreak as it moves closer to home.
Some, however, had little luck trying to prepare, instead finding store shelves bare.
“There’s no to be had,” one woman said about her attempt to buy disinfectants. “The shelves are empty.”