Quarantined Cruise Ship Passengers Refuse To Take COVID-19 Tests

The Grand Princess cruise ship pulled into San Francisco Bay on March 9, 2020 carrying at least 21 people who are infected with COVID-19.
Photo credit Matt Bigler/KCBS Radio
By KCBS All News 106.9FM and 740AM

Despite official statements that all passengers from the Grand Princess cruise ship would be tested for the coronavirus, the majority of people still quarantined at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield are choosing not to be tested. 

Approximately 900 passengers from the ship are now in their second week of quarantine at the base but fewer than 300 have been tested for the virus. 

“The testing situation wasn’t really made clear to us until we were here four or five days,” said passenger Steven Houghton from Pleasant Hill.

Initially, there were not enough tests available so passengers had to wait. Then they were told tests would be optional. “And then it was a circumstance where, if you wanted to test you certainly could, but if you tested negative, you’re still gonna stay 14 days," Houghton said. 

That is why Houghton says he and many others are choosing to forego the test. “It’s a 14-day quarantine. If you test positive that extends your stay another 14 days from the day you were tested.”

Only a handful of passengers quarantining at the base have tested positive for the virus, and Houghton says he and the passengers he is with feel healthy and are not showing any symptoms, so they are not concerned enough to risk taking the test and extending their quarantine.

The CDC is taking their temperature twice a day and monitoring them for other symptoms. Passengers say they have been told that everyone who has tested negative or remain asymptomatic will be released after 14 days.

Reported by Doug Sovern, written by Jessica Yi.