OAKLAND (CBS SF) — After nearly a week of being moored at a secure dockside in the Port of Oakland, the coronavirus-stricken Grand Princess was set to moor in the middle of the San Francisco Bay to begin a 14-day quarantine for the crew members who remain aboard the ship.
The ship and the ordeal of the more than 2,000 passengers aboard had become a main story line of the growing coronavirus outbreak in the Bay Area.
More than two dozen confirmed coronavirus cases can be traced to a Feb. 11-21 round-trip voyage from San Francisco to the Mexican Rivera. One former passenger — a 71-year-old Rocklin man — died from the disease.
The ship’s next voyage — a 15-day round trip to Hawaii — ended prematurely when officials recalled the boat to San Francisco in the wake of those cases.
But before it could dock, Gov. Gavin Newsom required the onboard testing of 45 passengers and crew members who were suffering from flu-like symptoms. Of those, 19 crew members and two passengers tested positive for the coronavirus.
The ship was held off the Northern California coast for several days and finally given clearance to dock in Oakland last week. Once the Grand Princess docked, each passenger was screened for the disease. More than 20 have been found to be infected including a passenger flown home to Canada.
Eventually, the more than 2,400 passengers and more than 500 crew members were allowed to leave the ship over a 5-day span. The American passengers were taken to one of four military bases across the country to undergo a federally mandated 14-day quarantine. The foreign passengers were flown back to their native countries.
The passengers who tested positive but did not need hospitalization ended up in a quarantine at a hotel in San Carlos. A plan that has been the source of controversy for many residents in the San Francisco Peninsula city.
Federal officials said the Coast Guard approved a departure plan for the ship Sunday morning and the ship was scheduled to leave the dock around 7 p.m. But late Sunday, Oakland police said the ship won’t be leaving until Monday morning at around 8 a.m. and sailing across the Bay to San Francisco.
There was no word for what was causing the delay.
“Following the completion of the mission today, the Grand Princess Cruise Ship will be moved from the Port of Oakland and temporarily anchored in San Francisco Bay while additional crew disembark for chartered flights from a non-commercial portion of San Francisco International Airport,” officials said in a news release. “The individuals disembarking for charted flights Sunday will undergo the same robust health screenings as passengers from the Grand Princess.”
Upon the ship’s departure, the Port of Oakland site will be fully remediated and decontaminated by immediately removing temporary structures and pressure washing the entire site with a bleach solution to disinfect it.