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After four days on the water, cruise will return to Juneau with COVID-positive passenger

A photo of UnCruise Adventures vessel Wilderness Adventures
A photo of UnCruise Adventures vessel Wilderness Adventures(Courtesy of UnCruise)
Published: Aug. 4, 2020 at 9:21 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - UnCruise Adventures has canceled all future departures in Alaska after a passenger on the Wilderness Adventurer was notified by the State of Alaska that they had tested positive for COVID-19.

Wilderness Adventurer left Juneau on Aug. 1 in its first sailing of the year for a 7-night excursion in remote areas of Southeast Alaska. The cruise had 36 guests and 30 crew onboard, City and Borough of Juneau said Tuesday.

The cruise will return to Juneau on Wednesday morning so that passengers and crew can quarantine. Passengers will stay at a local hotel and crew will stay on Wilderness Adventurer at port.

The company said the COVID-positive guest had previously received a negative test result before boarding Wilderness Adventurer and was not showing symptoms of the virus. On Tuesday, the passenger was on the boat when they received a call from the State of Alaska notifying them that they had tested positive for the virus.

Since UnCruise was notified of the result, passengers have been asked to stay in their cabins. The guest and the cruise had taken other precautions before departure. According to a statement from the City and Borough of Juneau, the guest had taken a COVID-19 test prior to leaving their home with a negative result. They took another COVID-19 test on arrival at the Juneau International Airport.

It was the second test that showed up as positive after the passenger had been on the cruise for several days.

UnCruise said it has implemented new protocols in light of COVID-19 including conducting daily temperature checks for all people on board, daily sanitation along with requiring people to stay socially distant or wear masks when coming in close contact with others.

“We are focusing all efforts on care of the guests, crew and the local community,” UnCruise Adventures Owner and CEO Dan Blanchard said in a statement. “This is very discouraging news and not what we had hoped for, but we’ll deal with it professionally. The guests are taking the news well, and the crew has executed our contingency plan quickly.”

Juneau officials say the cruise company was operating within the guidelines required by the State of Alaska and is following the state’s contingency plan since the case has been identified.

“UnCruise has been immediately responsive today and is working with state and local EOCs to make sure they’re protecting guests and the community,” Juneau Emergency Operations Center Incident Commander Mila Cosgrove said in a prepared statement.

The cruise did not dock at other Alaska communities, CBJ said. UnCruise Adventures said no other passengers or crew have showed “outward symptoms” of the virus.

Liz Galloway, a spokesperson for the company, said UnCruise has suspended all departures from Alaska in 2020 as a precaution because they see “providing a safe and responsive environment for all travelers as imperative.”

As a cruise with fewer than 250 people on board, Wilderness Adventurer was not prohibited from sailing by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention no-sail order.

The company started in Juneau and now operates out of Seattle and Juneau with small ship cruises through Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico and other destinations.

Copyright 2020 KTUU. All rights reserved.

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