National Guard helps 29 residents get back to state from cruise ship docked in California

MADISON -- Twenty-nine Wisconsin residents who were aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship that docked at the Port of Oakland in California last week were safely transported back to Wisconsin late Sunday night, March 15. There, soldiers and airmen from the Wisconsin National Guard were waiting to transport them back to their homes for self-quarantine.

A news release from the office of Gov. Tony Evers indicated at 4:18 am on Monday, March 16, the 29 Wisconsin passengers from the Grand Princess cruise ship were safely returned to their homes. Two passengers chose to remain in quarantine in Texas under the custody of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HSS), citing personal reasons.

Medical personnel help load passengers onto buses as they are disembarked from the Grand Princess cruise ship at the Port of Oakland in Oakland, California on March 10, 2020. - The first passengers were taken ashore from a coronavirus-hit cruise ship

State officials continue to work with HHS to return home the seven Wisconsin passengers who remain in HHS custody in California. The National Guard troops were given hotel rooms at their final destinations.

As of Monday, none of the returning Wisconsin citizens have tested positive for COVID-19 and all are asymptomatic, but the residents will follow the Centers for Disease Control and Wisconsin Department of Health Services protocols and continue to self-quarantine for the requisite 14-day period.

More than 3,500 people were on board the Grand Princess which had 21 total cases of COVID-19.