NEW ORLEANS, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – An additional seven cases of COVID-19 have been identified on a Norwegian Cruise Lines ship that disembarked at the Port of New Orleans Sunday, according to the Louisiana Department of Health.
The additional cases bring the total number of COVID-19 cases identified among passengers and crew to 17, said a statement released by the LDH on Sunday night, hours after the Norwegian Breakaway arrived in New Orleans.
“This includes 1 probable case of Omicron which has been identified among the crew,” the statement said. “This case is among the 10 cases that had been previously reported. The crew member is not a Louisiana resident and did not leave the ship.”
The ship departed New Orleans on Nov. 28. The Louisiana Department of Health said in a late Saturday news release that over the past week, the ship made stops in Belize, Honduras, and Mexico. More than 3,200 people were on board the ship, officials said.
“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.”
Norwegian Cruise Line issued a statement that confirmed a “handful of COVID-19 cases among guests and crew.” The company said all of the identified cases involved people without symptoms of the illness. Norwegian said it requires all passengers and crew members to have been vaccinated against the coronavirus prior to departure.
“We are testing all individuals on Norwegian Breakaway prior to disembarkation, as well as providing post-exposure and quarantine public health guidance by the (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention),” the company’s statement said. “Any guests who have tested positive for COVID-19 will travel by personal vehicle to their personal residence or self-isolate in accommodations provided by the company.”
Separately, the Louisiana Department of Health said, it also confirmed the first case of Omicron in the state. The health department says this does not include any of the passengers or crew members on the Norwegian Breakaway.
The state reported its first probable case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in Louisiana on Thursday, hours after Gov. John Bel Edwards held a briefing in Baton Rouge held a briefing urging Louisianians to prepare for the arrival of the variant by getting vaccinated or boosted if eligible and taking masking and social distancing precautions where appropriate.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.