LDH: Cruise ship approaching Port of New Orleans contains at least 10 cases of COVID-19

Louisiana

The “Norwegian Breakaway” cruise liner leaves the Meyer-Werft shipyard in Papenburg, northwestern Germany, on March 13, 2013. The new ship, which is 324 meters long and 40 meters wide, is the largest built here to date. (Photo credit should read CARMEN JASPERSEN/DPA/AFP via Getty Images)

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO/KTAL) — The Louisiana Department of Health says the Norwegian Breakaway cruise ship set to return and disembark in New Orleans this weekend has at least ten confirmed COVID-19 cases among its crew and passengers.

The Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) ship set sail from New Orleans on Nov. 28 and stopped in Belize, Honduras, and Mexico with more than 3,200 people on board.

The Louisiana Department of Health says it is working with Gov. John Bel Edwards, the City of New Orleans, and the Port of New Orleans “to initiate existing COVID-19 agreements and protocols with the cruise line.”

“NCL has been adhering to appropriate quarantine and isolation protocols,” LDH said in a statement shared on Twitter Saturday evening. “Every individual aboard will be tested for #COVID prior to disembarking, and will be provided post-exposure and quarantine public health guidance by @CDCgov.”

Those who test positive for COVID-19 will either travel by personal vehicle directly to their personal residence or self-isolate according to current CDC guidelines in accommodations provided by NCL.

Federal health officials in October extended for nearly three more months its rules that cruise ships must follow to sail during the pandemic.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the extension makes only “minor modifications” to rules already in effect. The agency said that after Jan. 15, it planned to move to a voluntary program for cruise companies to detect and control the spread of COVID-19 on their ships.

The current regulations, called a conditional sailing order, were originally scheduled to expire on Nov. 1.

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