Several cases of COVID-19 have been reported on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship, with at least one probable case found to be the omicron variant.
The Louisiana Department of Health announced that 17 cases have been detected on the Norwegian Breakaway sailing out of the port of New Orleans.
The single suspected omicron case was found on a crew member from South Africa, who has remained on the ship, although the 17 cases, which were all asymptomatic, are among both crew and passengers. The crew member with the suspected case was in isolation for the entirety of the cruise, according to a statement from Norwegian Cruise Line.
“As always, the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we visit is our highest priority,” according to the cruise line. “Since the relaunch of our fleet, we have required 100% of guests and crew to be fully vaccinated per our comprehensive and stringent health and safety protocols. We will never compromise on health and safety and we will of course, continue to take all appropriate action to ensure everyone’s well-being and to protect public health.”
The ship left port on Nov. 28 on a western Caribbean itinerary with more than 3,200 people on board. It returned and passengers disembarked this weekend with everyone on board tested for COVID-19 before departing, as well as providing post-exposure and quarantine public health guidance, according to NCL.
“Governor John Bel Edwards, the Louisiana Department of Health, the City of New Orleans and the Port of New Orleans are aware and working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to implement existing COVID-19 agreements and protocols with the cruise line,” reads a statement from the state Department of Health.
The ship delayed its turnaround embarkation, but still left Sunday.
“In an abundance of caution and in compliance with CDC requirements, we have offered all guests sailing on the Dec. 5, 2021 voyage an opportunity to cancel without penalty. Guests who opt to sail must wear masks while indoors except while actively eating or drinking and will be tested twice during the cruise,” the company stated.
The CDC has begun an investigation, with the ship listed as yellow in the CDC’s color-coded cruise designations, meaning the ship’s cases are above the threshold of 0.10% of passengers or one or more cases reported in crew.