Alaska News

Person on board large cruise ship in Southeast Alaska tests positive for COVID-19

This story was originally published at KTOO.org and is republished here with permission.

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A City and Borough of Juneau official confirmed on Monday that one vaccinated person from the cruise ship Celebrity Millennium was found to be infected with COVID-19 over the weekend. The ship is in port in Juneau and is scheduled to be in Skagway Tuesday morning.

Deputy city manager Robert Barr says the individual did not circulate in Juneau as a tourist, but will leave the capital city by air ambulance. The city is working with the cruise lines and the state’s health department to respond.

“I think that we were never expecting the cruise season to be entirely COVID free,” Barr said. “Because even though the cruise ships are highly vaccinated, we again know that vaccines are not perfect, and that they will rely on herd immunity.”

Barr says vaccines are nonetheless the most effective way to combat the spread of the virus. He said he’s heartened that nearly 80% of Juneau’s eligible population has now had a first shot.

There will be no immediate changes to the city’s health guidelines. Barr says there is no hard and fast threshold where Juneau would restrict ships into port, but does plan to examine that question on a case-by-case basis.

Barr says he is confident in the city’s partnership with the cruise industry and state health department to ensure a safe season despite occasional cases.

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