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Grand Princess passengers start leaving quarantine

After the coronavirus interrupted her cruise-ship vacation and led her to spend 14 days in quarantine, Donna Kaletta says she’s ready to go home.

The first group of passengers from the Grand Princess departed Monday from Travis Air Force Base, east of the San Francisco Bay Area, where they have been under quarantine. Kaletta said she expects to be part of the second group, leaving Tuesday morning.

Passengers are expected to be released from quarantine over the next four days.

Kaletta said she already knows the first thing she’ll do when she gets home to San Jose, California: “Hug my husband,” she said. “It’s been a month.”

The postal worker, her sister and 81-year-old dad were among the 3,500 passengers and crew on the cruise ship when it docked March 9 in Oakland after an aborted trip to Hawaii. The ship had departed San Francisco, but aborted the voyage when several aboard started reporting coronavirus symptoms.

SOURCE Princess Cruise Lines; maps4news.com/©HERE; USA TODAY reporting

The ship was kept at sea for several days before being allowed back into port. Twenty-one aboard had tested positive for the disease by the time it docked.

Officials have not disclosed how many had tested positive while in quarantine.

Kaletta said not all passengers were tested for the coronavirus while in quarantine. She said she was awaiting results of her own test, though she said she had showed no symptoms of COVID-19.

She expressed frustration at having been cooped up for 14 days, including having turkey sandwiches for lunch for seven days straight. “It’s not like you can go to the kitchen and get some food because there’s no food,” she said.

The first to disembark from the Grand Princess will be those requiring hospitalization.

But said said the room provided for the family at the base was “awesome” and that the staff caring for them, particularly military personnel, went to great lengths to try to make the stay as bearable as possible.

As an example, she noted her father had only brought clothes for a vacation in Hawaii, where the cruise ship was bound before turning around. He was not prepared for cool northern California evenings. She said she called and asked if she could get a sweatshirt for him. One of the staff, with his own money, went to a store and bought him one.

“They are so very compassionate. They are serving the military but they also serving us,” she said.

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