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Vaccinated Carnival Vista passenger, 77, later died from COVID

Carnival Vista identified 27 coronavirus cases over two cruises earlier this month, including 26 crew and the one passenger. All were vaccinated
The New York Times reported the death of a vaccinated Carnival Vista passenger, 77, who tested positive for COVID-19 while on board and later died after being flown back to the US.

The Galveston-based Carnival Vista identified 27 coronavirus cases cumulatively over two cruises earlier this month, including 26 crew and the passenger. All were vaccinated. Those testing positive were isolated, with contact tracing turning up no further cases, as earlier reported.

The passenger embarked July 31 and was taken ill Aug. 4. At the time, fully vaccinated passengers were not required to present negative tests before embarking however, since Aug. 14, that is now the policy

Hospitalized in Belize then later died in US

Most infected crew were either asymptomatic or experienced mild symptoms but, according to the Times, the passenger was hospitalized in Belize before being flown home to Oklahoma where she was treated and later died.

Carnival's statement

'We are very sorry to hear about the death of a guest who sailed on Carnival Vista,' Carnival Cruise Line said in a statement. 'Regrettably, there is a fair amount of disinformation about the circumstances of this matter. The guest almost certainly did not contract COVID on our ship, and she was assisted with expert medical care on board and was ultimately evacuated from Belize after we provided a resource to her family. We have continued to provide support to her family and are not going to add to their sadness by commenting further.'

Carnival added that its protocols are designed to flex up as needed to adapt to the changing public health situation.

'We meet the standards for a vaccinated cruise as defined by the [US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], with at least 95% of our guests and all of our crew being vaccinated, and then implemented additional measures, as we are now requiring vaccinated guests to present both proof of vaccination and a negative COVID test at check-in. Those few guests who cannot be vaccinated are tested twice before boarding the ship, and again at debarkation. And all guests must wear masks in the indoor areas of the ship where people gather, such as dining rooms, theaters and casinos.

'Unfortunately, no venue on land or at sea is COVID-free right now,' Carnival continued, 'but we are committed to protecting the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we visit and have not hesitated to act quickly and go beyond existing public health guidelines.'

Vaccination exemptions limited

As earlier reported, effective Aug. 28 through October on Carnival departures from all Atlantic and Gulf homeports, only children under 12 and adults with a medical condition that prohibits their COVID-19 vaccination are exempt from the line's vaccine requirement to sail.

On Friday, CDC updated its guidance to recommend that travelers who are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 avoid taking cruises, even if they're vaccinated.

This applies to older adults, people with certain medical conditions and pregnant and recently pregnant people.

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