A Santa Cruz County resident who recently traveled on the Grand Princess cruise ship is the county’s first confirmed case of COVID-19, officials said Saturday.
Test results on Friday night confirmed the diagnosis, county Public Health Division officials announced Saturday morning.
The resident, whose identity and hometown were not released, had traveled on the Grand Princess from San Francisco to Mexico from Feb. 11-21.
The ship, carrying more than 3,500 passengers, was recently on its way from Hawaii to San Francisco but remains off the coast of Californiawhile authorities determine a “non-commercial port” for it to dock.
Officials say 21 people aboard the ship have tested positive for the virus and that 19 of them are crewmembers.
Santa Cruz County officials are investigating any possible exposures the resident may have had with others.
“We are taking this situation seriously and are taking steps necessary to protect the health and safety of Santa Cruz County residents,” said Dr. Gail Newel, County of Santa Cruz Health Officer.
The California Department of Public Health previously alerted counties of an exposure risk due to several travelers returning from the Grand Princess cruise ship, including travelers residing in Santa Cruz County.
All are being actively monitored and are under self-quarantine, with daily contact with public health officials. Testing is requested for those exhibiting symptoms.
While COVID-19 represents a serious public health threat, the risk to Santa Cruz County residents remains low but officials anticipate there will be additional local cases.
Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to the flu, which include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or up to 14 days after exposure.
Anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 and may have had contact with a person with COVID-19 or had recent travel to countries with COVID-19 outbreaks should contact their primary care physician’s office. Before seeking medical attention, call first to prevent possible transmission in the health care setting.
For local information, residents may visit www.santacruzhealth.org/coronavirus, call 211 or text “coronavirus” to 211211. Messaging rates may apply.