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Five more COVID-19 positive tests on SeaDream I

November 16, 2020 Cruise News No Comments

According to a report in The Points Guy by Gene Sloan, who is on board SeaDream 1 in Barbados, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 on board the vessel has increased to five and there is preliminary evidence that there may be a sixth case on board.

In a ship-wide announcement around 5.00pm on Thursday, the Captain of SeaDream 1, Torbjorn Lund, said testing overnight of close contacts of the original passenger to test positive for COVID-19 had turned up a total of five confirmed cases in his traveling party, with the testing performed by health authorities from the government of Barbados, where the ship docked late Wednesday night.

A couple hours after that announcement, Captain Lund made another ship-wide address to say preliminary findings from rapid tests on board had uncovered a sixth possible case, with the possible case needing to be confirmed with a second test that will be processed overnight.

SeaDream 1 arrived in Barbados around 10:45 p.m. local time on Wednesday after cutting short a seven-night voyage to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Grenada, due to the original positive test and health authorities from Barbados boarded it shortly thereafter, with Barbados the vessel’s home base for the winter season.

The five confirmed positive cases amount to nearly 10% of the passengers on the vessel, with 53 passengers and 66 crew on board.

Sloan says the list of passengers on SeaDream 1, which just resumed Caribbean sailings on Saturday out of Barbados, includes him and he’s been on board since last Saturday covering this week’s voyage, which he described as a watershed moment for the cruise industry, with the sailing the first by any cruise line in the Caribbean since the coronavirus outbreak was declared a pandemic in March.

With the Caribbean the world’s biggest cruise destination, accounting for at least a third of all cruises taken in a normal year, the cruise industry has been eyeing a restart in the region for many months.

Sloan added that even as he announced the possibility of a sixth case on board late Thursday, Captain Lund had some good news to report in that an initial round of tests for COVID-19 on all other passengers and crew had come back negative, with passengers and crew on board tested over the last two days by both the ship’s doctor and Barbados health authorities.

The ship’s doctor and an assistant tested passengers and crew using three Abbott ID Now testing machines that the vessel carries on board and Barbados health authorities tested passengers and crew using tests that are being sent off the ship to a laboratory, with since the tests by the ship’s doctor can be processed on board, the results for the tests have been coming back faster.

These are the tests that have shown negative results for most passengers and crew, but Captain Lund suggested that these initial results won’t be confirmed until the secondary results from the Barbados government testing arrive early Friday.

It was a positive test late Thursday on one of the shipboard tests that resulted in the captain saying there was preliminary evidence of a sixth COVID case on board, with that case not considered confirmed until secondary results come in from the Barbados government testing.

In his address to passengers late Thursday, Captain Lund said shipboard officials were “not 100% sure” the positive test was an actual positive.

Sloan said testing by both the ship’s doctor and Barbados officials was the big onboard story of Thursday adding he was tested first by the ship’s doctor at about 3 p.m. on Thursday, with the test performed at the doorway to his cabin, where he had been under quarantine since Wednesday, with about two hours later, he received a call from the ship’s reception that the result was negative.

He was then called down to the reception area of the ship about two hours after the initial test to undergo the test by Barbados authorities, with that test now being sent out to a laboratory, with results expected early Friday.

All passengers and non-essential crew on the ship have been under quarantine in their cabins since around noon on Wednesday, when the first positive COVID test came back.

Captain Lund said late Thursday that the ship and local authorities had been in discussions about a plan for the next few days that would allow passengers who test negative for COVID-19 to leave the ship in the coming days, with that passengers would have to have negative results on both the test performed by the ship’s doctor and the test performed by Barbados authorities.

Passengers who test positive on one of the tests would be informed one by one on the next steps.

An edited report from The Points Guy by John Alwyn-Jones

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