OCTOBER 19, 2014 — Carnival Cruise Lines says that this morning, Carnival Magic docked in Galveston at approximately 4.30 am.
Healthcare authorities boarded the cruise ship to conduct a final health screening of the lab worker from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital who has been at the center of an Ebola scare. Additionally, a blood test conducted by health officials has confirmed the individual is not infected with Ebola. Following customary U.S. Customs & Border Protection clearance procedures for returning cruise passengers, says Carnival, the individual and her companion departed the ship to return home on their own. Normal debarkation for the balance of the passengers commenced at approximately 7 am.
Carnival says that. though no special cleaning requirements of the vessel have been requested by health authorities, "to provide added assurance for our guests, we are undertaking a very comprehensive and aggressive cleaning and sanitizing initiative prior to guests boarding for the next voyage."
When the health care worker boarded the ship last Sunday, says Carnival, she was not in a risk category that required restriction of movement based on CDC guidelines. However, by mid-week she had been moved into the "active monitoring category," based on changes in CDC protocol. She had been self-monitoring her temperature up until the point on Wednesday that CDC asked the cruise line to have its medical professionals monitor her.
"This individual was always considered very low risk and at no point in time during the course of the cruise did she exhibit any symptoms of illness," says Carnival. "Today is day 21 of her incubation period and she and her companion were allowed by health authorities to travel home on their own."
Carnival, like other cruise lines, is now requiring medical screening questionnaires of all guests prior to boarding a ship. That questionnaire covers areas such as travel history, any contact with individuals who have traveled from the West African areas of concern as well an additional question added this week that relates to having had any contact with someone who has been diagnosed with Ebola. A "yes" answer to any of these questions triggers a secondary screening which may result in denied boarding.