(CBS4) – Two Coloradans are back home after they were stuck on the Grand Princess cruise ship for more than a week and quarantined for even longer.
“I never thought that when I got on that ship on Feb. 21, that when I left the ship the world would not be the world as it is,” Sherri Pe’a said.
CBS4 first interviewed Pe’a, of Aurora, and her brother-in-law Tom Gray, of Denver, in early March when they were stuck aboard the cruise ship. When at least 21 people tested positive for coronavirus, the ship essentially shut down, isolating passengers in their cabins for days, until the ship safely docked in Oakland.
“It started to hit home that something bad has happened,” Pe’a said. “When we were on the ship we knew people tested positive for COVID-19 but there was little information about what was really going on.”
Once the two were taken off the ship, they were screened by a medical triage at the ship’s port.
“They just took our temperature, took our information,” Pe’a said.
Pe’a and Gray were then flown to a military base in San Diego with other ship passengers for quarantine. There, they were assigned a room, delivered meals and met with case workers and nurses daily.
“Every day we knew how many people got tested, how many people were leaving the base to go back to their home state, how many people were hospitalized,” Pe’a said. “They took amazing care of us.”
Pe’a said reality began to hit when some of the friends she had made on the ship and at the military base began to feel sick.
“A person in my group was asymptomatic and tested positive for coronavirus,” Pe’a said. “And a friend I made there from Colorado tested positive with symptoms and she’s really sick.”
Pe’a also said they were alerted about fellow passengers on board who had passed away.
“They showed us a picture,” she explained. “I knew who that person was. I had contact with that person. This is not silly stuff, that made it very real.”
While some of the ship passengers are now home like Pe’a and Gray, they hope the community can stand together to fight the virus.
“We know this is big, we lived it firsthand,” Pe’a said. “We’re going to get through this, I have a lot of faith.”
Pe’a said they are keeping in contact with other passengers through a support group online. They hope to encourage others to make healthy decisions in the coming weeks.
“People are starting to get it that this is real, so hopefully, we can flat line this pretty quickly,” Pe’a said.