Cruise ships must be cleared for entry into port as virus concerns grow

Cruise ships must be cleared for entry into port as virus concerns grow
Before entering the Port of Charleston, cruise ships are being monitored by the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, city of Charleston officials say. (Source: Live 5)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - City of Charleston officials say all cruise ships are being monitored before they are being allowed to enter the Port of Charleston amid growing concerns about the novel coronavirus.

The U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol are monitoring all cruise ships attempting to enter the Port of Charleston, a release from the city states. Those agencies are empowered to take appropriate action with regard to public safety.

“They receive detailed passenger and crewmember information, including full travel histories, prior to all ships’ arrivals in Charleston and are actively monitoring for potential coronavirus exposures,” the release states.

The release came as word broke Friday afternoon of two potential instances of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, had been found in South Carolina. One of those cases is in Charleston.

MUSC confirmed Friday a female team member who recently traveled to France and Italy tested presumptive positive for COVID-19. She did not require hospitalization and is self-isolated at home.

“This individual self-identified to DHEC upon learning that community transmission had occurred in an area recently visited during a trip to Europe; she had not returned to work and still has not at this time,” MUSC officials said. “Our team member practiced excellent public health and social responsibility by pursuing testing, taking appropriate hygienic precautions and self-quarantining at home.”

According to MUSC officials, the patient had mild illness and has been asymptomatic for the past three days and is committed to remaining in self-quarantine for the remainder of the CDC-recommended 14-day time frame.

The two cases received positive results from a test administered by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. The Centers for Disease Control is working to confirm the results of those tests and their results could come within 24 to 48 hours.

Concern about cruise ships has grown since word came Friday that 21 people aboard a cruise ship off the California coast tested presumptive positive for COVID-19. Vice President Mike Pence said 19 of the 21 are crew members. The federal government is working with California officials on a plan to bring the ship to a non-commercial port this weekend so that everyone on board can be tested, Pence said.

Copyright 2020 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.