The cruise ships “Carnival Sunrise” (L) and “Carnival Vista” (R), which are part of the Carnival Cruise Line, will be moored on a quay in the port of Miami, Florida on December 23, 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Daniel Slim | AFP | Getty Images
A 77-year-old woman has died of COVID-19 after testing positive on a Carnival cruise to Belize. This is the first reported fatality since cruising the Caribbean and the US resumed in June.
The cruise ship Carnival Vista, which sails out of Galveston, Texas, reported 27 people who tested positive within two weeks in late July and early August, the highest number of cases since the cruises began.
NBC News worked to confirm the identity of the woman who died on August 14th. The New York Times reported that she was a great grandmother from Oklahoma.
The woman left Carnival Vista with her family on July 31 and tested positive for COVID-19 after experiencing respiratory complications, the Times reported. She was admitted to a hospital in Belize and put on a ventilator before being evacuated and treated in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The outbreak of 27 cases on board the ship was discovered on the fourth day of an eight-day cruise just before the ship docked in Belize. Of those who tested positive, 26 were crew members and the other was a passenger.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill banning companies from requesting proof of vaccination, but more than 96% of passengers and all but one crew member aboard Carnival Vista were fully vaccinated, according to the Belize Tourism Board . It was not clear whether the deceased woman was vaccinated or not.
“We are very sorry to hear of the death of a guest who sailed Carnival Vista,” Carnival said in a statement. “Unfortunately there is a great deal of disinformation going on about the circumstances surrounding this matter.
“The guest almost certainly did not contract COVID on our ship and she was assisted by expert medical care on board and eventually evacuated from Belize after we provided her family with a resource. We continued to support and support her family are not. ” will add to their sadness by providing additional comments. “
Carnival has updated its vaccination guidelines so that as of Saturday, most guests will need to be vaccinated and also show negative results from a COVID-19 test taken within three days of boarding a ship. Carnival also introduced a mask requirement for all indoor passengers on August 7th.
“We always asked for vaccinations. Since our restart in July, over 95% of the guests have been vaccinated. We meet the definition of a vaccinated cruise, “a Carnival spokesman told NBC News’ Kerry Sanders on Tuesday. “And we added the testing requirement on July 28th. (August) On August 28th, new guidelines for the Bahamas will go into effect.”
As the more contagious Delta variant of the virus continues to spread, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued updated guidelines on Aug. 20 that prohibit travelers at increased risk of developing serious illnesses regardless of vaccination status.