TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Carnival Cruise Line has reported the first death of a passenger from COVID-19 since cruises restarted in the Caribbean and the United States.
The New York Times reports Oklahoma resident Marilyn Tackett, 77, was sailing on the Carnival Vista cruise ship to Belize when she tested positive for the virus. Tackett was evacuated from the ship and admitted to a hospital in Belize, where she was put on a ventilator, then transferred to a Tulsa, Oklahoma, hospital, where she later died.
Carnival told the newspaper it was “highly unlikely” Tackett was infected on the ship.
Carnival Vista released this statement:
“We are very sorry to hear about the death of a guest who sailed on Carnival Vista. 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.”
Earlier this month, Carnival reported one passenger and 26 crew members has tested positive for COVID-19 before the ship made a stop in Belize City. It’s the highest number of cases since cruises started sailing again, NBC reported. The Galveston-based ship was carrying over 1,400 crew and nearly 3,000 passengers, the Belize Tourism Board said. No other passengers tested positive for the virus.
The tourism board said those who tested positive for the virus had all been vaccinated and were made to isolate.
As of Aug. 24, all Carnival passengers are required to be vaccinated, but there are exceptions for children and those with medical issues. Passengers are also required to show proof of negative tests before boarding, and masks are required in certain indoor spaces.