Coronavirus cases top 200 as Citrus County couple awaits end of quarantine on cruise ship

Coronavirus

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Hours after 8 On Your Side spoke with Gay Courter over Skype, Japanese health officials announced 44 more coronavirus cases from the cruise ship being quarantined off Yokohama.

“The worst time for us is when we hear the count of how many are sick,” Courter said.

All week long Courter and her husband have been doing interviews in which they are sounding the alarm that the quarantine has failed.  

“I’ll be very surprised if there’s no more, I’ll be thrilled,” she said Wednesday night, anticipating more people on board are already sick with the respiratory virus.

Thirty-two of the 219 total cases connected to the cruise ship are American passengers, NBC News reports.

“Two hundred something cases and more every day, we’re feeling it,” Courter said on the ninth day confined to her cabin in quarantine. “We’ve done the numbers. We could have passed them in the buffet line.”

NBC News obtained a letter the U.S. embassy in Tokyo sent the nearly 400 American passengers still stuck on the Diamond Princess. On Friday, some passengers will start disembarking to quarantine facilities on land. The first off the ship will be older adults with pre-existing health conditions.

“I’m 75, my husband is 77. We have pre-existing conditions,” Courter said.

She has wanted off the cruise ship since 8 On Your Side aired her plea for help Monday.

“It’s time to come for us now,” she said.

Courter told 8 On Your Side when she returns to Florida she is “happy to go home in a quarantine condition.”

There are passengers on the Diamond Princess who are even older than the Courters in their 80s and 90s, so it is no guarantee the Florida couple will be allowed off the ship Friday.

8 On Your Side reached out to the Florida Department of Health to find out if there is a plan in place for when Floridians on the cruise ship fly home.

“The Department is coordinating closely with our federal partners to investigate, confirm, contain and report any suspected cases, should they occur,” an email to 8 On Your Side said.  

So far, Florida health officials say they are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state.

“Should one occur, Florida’s health care facilities are well prepared to treat the patient,” the email said.  

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