UPDATE: The CDC was reporting that the government conducted only 8 tests for coronavirus on 3/10 (as shown in the image of from their website above and reported by Dr. Sanjay Gupta). They have since revised that figure upward to 28 tests by CDC and 1388 tests by U.S. Public Health Labs (with a footnote that the data is incomplete – also, this does not include tests by private labs – I have no idea what that number might be).
So that’s good news, but still far, far fewer tests than we need. For example, Pence told us that every passenger on the Grand Princess would be tested, but days after the ship has docked, many have still not been tested. Chaos reigns during the ship evacuation and many of these people suffering – my heart goes out to them. Their experience, frankly, makes me feel very uneasy about how the Trump Administration is handling this pandemic and what might be in store for our nation as the virus continues to spread.
San Francisco Chronicle
March 12, 2020, 9:59 p.m.
Passengers trapped in their rooms for days on the Grand Princess cruise ship cheered when they sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge on Monday and disembarked at the Port of Oakland. But the ordeal is far from over.
In the days following, passengers who are quarantined at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield have described a disorganized situation that is creating a roller coaster of anxiety, boredom and frustration. Some of the passengers say they haven’t received tests for coronavirus despite showing symptoms, while other passengers say they have been denied basic supplies, as well as answers on their medical conditions.
“You feel like Dorothy — you just want to click your heels together and go to ‘no place like home,’” Neil Kran, a 69-year-old Sausalito resident housed at the base with his wife, said on Wednesday. “It’s absolutely terrible.”
After 21 passengers and crew members aboard the voyage from San Francisco to Hawaii tested positive for COVID-19, more than 600 passengers were taken to Travis for a 14-day quarantine period. Meanwhile, 42 were flown to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar near San Diego, 124 were flown to Dobbins Air Reserve in Georgia, and 98 were taken to Lackland Air Force Base near San Antonio as of mid-day Wednesday. Foreign passengers were repatriated on charter flights.
About 700 people remained on the cruise ship by mid-morning Wednesday, state officials said. A relative of one passenger spent the day frantically searching for answers about her elderly mother’s situation.
Wendy Breskin, a North Carolina resident, said her 92-year-old mother and a 90-year-old companion left their rooms aboard the ship Wednesday and stood in line for the off-boarding process “for most of the morning.” They boarded a bus around 1:15 p.m. and waited there for about five hours before getting on a plane that would take them to Miramar in San Diego. Breskin said her mother thought the bus had been forgotten.
One person threw up on the bus, Breskin said. The passengers — many of them elderly — were served lunch and allowed one bathroom break.
“They have no idea what’s happening to them. Nobody’s telling them anything,” Breskin said. “For the first time, my mother (was) truly upset and scared.”
Stephen and Diane Houghton of Pleasant Hill had a similarly grim experience disembarking the ship and reaching Travis Air Force Base. Fifty passengers packed together on a bus — a move the Houghtons questioned because of how contagious the virus is — and waited inside the vehicle for hours in Fairfield because their accommodations weren’t ready.
They got off at 1 a.m. Wednesday morning and had to climb over a pile of 600 pieces of luggage in the dark to find their belongings on their own.
“It was an absolutely disorganized mess,” said Steve Houghton, 77, adding that his room had no cups for water, no toilet paper and no soap.
He said people in “spacemen-like outfits” have taken their temperature twice, but there has been no offer of testing for COVID-19, and people can wander around the facility.
“It isn’t a quarantine,” he said.
On Thursday morning, he asked someone on the facility’s medical staff for a COVID-19 test, but he was told he didn’t qualify because he had no symptoms.
Meanwhile, Kran, who arrived at Travis on Tuesday, said no one had contacted him or his wife, Meryl Schneider, to inquire about their health until Thursday morning, when a doctor came to check their temperature in their rooms. Neither have been tested for COVID-19.
Officials said all passengers will be tested at their quarantine sites.
Kran went to breakfast Wednesday morning and medical personnel took his temperature, wrote down his name and room number, and asked if he was experiencing the symptoms associated with the novel coronavirus, including fever and respiratory issues. But Schneider, who had not been feeling well and did not accompany her husband to breakfast that morning, was not screened until the room visit the next day, he said.
Robert Archer, a 65-year-old San Franciscan who is also housed at Travis, said doctors came to his room twice Wednesday to take his and his wife’s temperature. But neither have been tested for COVID-19 and they received “evasive” answers when they asked.
“It seems like we’ve been here a month already,” Archer said.
Several people have been taken away in ambulances, Archer said, and he saw another person collapse in the hallway. Guards and fences keep the hotel closed off, and ambulances are lined up in wait.
“It’s like, ‘Welcome to my nightmare,’” Archer said. “It’s a very unsettling experience.”
Archer shared photos of paperwork saying, “Details about testing for COVID-19 will be forthcoming.” But in the meantime, passengers were allowed to wander around and socialize freely — signaling the so-called quarantine wasn’t really a quarantine at all.
And their experience is confirmed today by BuzzFeed:
“We will be testing everyone on the ship,” said Vice President Mike Pence. But some passengers, now under quarantine in California, said their requests for testing have gone nowhere.
March 13, 2020, 12:26 p.m. ET
Four days after the Grand Princess cruise ship docked, passengers now under quarantine in California expressed frustration that they have still not been tested for the coronavirus.
The Grand Princess’s ill-fated voyage sparked international alarm when 21 people on board tested positive for the virus, causing the ship to be held for days off the California coast en route back to San Francisco from Hawaii. …
Before the ship’s more than 3,000 passengers and crew members finally docked in Oakland on Monday, officials announced plans to take the US residents to four military bases for quarantines and screening. “We will be testing everyone on the ship,” Vice President Mike Pence said late last week. “We will be quarantining as necessary.”
But as the end of this week approached, some passengers said their repeated requests for testing have gone nowhere, making them anxious about whether they have the disease…