A cruise ship passenger has died of COVID-19 after testing positive while on a Carnival Cruise Line ship.
The victim was 77-year-old Marilyn Tackett from Oklahoma. She died on Aug. 14. This is the first reported death since cruises restarted in the Caribbean and United States in June.
According to the New York Times, the victim boarded the Carnival Vista cruise ship sailing out of Galveston, Texas to Belize on July 31 with her family. She tested positive for COVID-19 after experiencing respiratory complications. She was admitted to a hospital in Belize and put on a ventilator before being evacuated to Tulsa, Oklahoma, for further treatment.
Twenty-seven cases were discovered aboard the ship on day 4 of the eight-day cruise. Twenty-six of those who tested positive were crew members and the other was a passenger. All of the people infected had been vaccinated, the Belize Tourism Board said in a press release. It is not clear whether the woman who died was vaccinated.
The board also assured its citizens that strict protocols were followed and no one on the ship who tested positive for COVID-19 were allowed in the country without special permission.
The ship was carrying nearly 3,000 guests and 1,441 crew when it arrived in Belize.
“We are very sorry to hear about the death of a guest who sailed on Carnival Vista,” Carnival said in a statement. “The guest almost certainly did not contract COVID on our ship, and she was assisted with expert medical care on board and was ultimately evacuated from Belize after we provided a resource to her family. We have continued to provide support to her family and are not going to add to their sadness by commenting further,” the company added.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has banned businesses from requiring a “vaccine passport”, or proof a person has been vaccinated.
Carnival has updated its vaccination policy after the incident, CNBC reports. Guests are now required to be vaccinated and “present both proof of vaccination and a negative COVID test at check-in.”
“Those few guests who cannot be vaccinated are tested twice before boarding the ship, and again at debarkation. And all guests must wear masks in the indoor areas of the ship where people gather, such as dining rooms, theaters and casinos,” the company said. “Unfortunately, no venue on land or at sea is COVID-free right now, but we are committed to protecting the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we visit and have not hesitated to act quickly and go beyond existing public health guidelines.”