Alaska cruise passenger tests positive for COVID-19

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A fully vaccinated passenger on an Alaska cruise tested positive for COVID-19 and received "private air transportation" home, according to Celebrity Cruises.

A passenger on Sunday reported cold-like symptoms to the ship's medical personnel and subsequently tested positive for COVID-19, the cruise line said in a statement Tuesday. The person was isolated in the ship's medical facility for monitoring. The company said it did contact tracing and tested the person's close contacts, who were all negative for the virus.

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The person who tested positive was "provided private air transportation back to the comforts of home, ensuring that our safety measures were maintained from door-to-door," the statement said.

Cruise line spokesperson Susan Lomax said the ship was in Skagway on Tuesday and would be at sea before returning to Seattle on Friday.

Robert Barr, Juneau's deputy city manager, told KTOO Public Media that the person had been aboard the Celebrity Millennium, which stopped in Alaska's capital city on Monday.

"I think that we were never expecting the cruise season to be entirely COVID free," Barr told the outlet. He said he was confident in the city's efforts with the cruise industry and state health department to ensure a safe season.

State health officials have said vaccines are the best defense against the spread of the coronavirus. Dr. Joe McLaughlin, the state epidemiologist, has noted the vaccine effectiveness is "exceptionally high" but said the vaccine is "not perfect."

The state health department reports 74% of Juneau residents 12 or older are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

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