Local official and wife on-board quarantined cruise ship

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CALIFORNIA (WBRE/WYOU) — Rich Ridgway, a Columbia County Commissioner, is onboard the Grand Princess. The cruise finally docked in Oakland, California on Monday after being held at sea for four days. Concerns arose after a passenger on the cruise’s previous trip died from COVID-19.

Ridgway says he boarded the ship 19 days ago with his wife thinking he would finally go on a relaxing vacation to celebrate his 46th wedding anniversary.

“Well it’s been 2 years since I really had more than four or five days off and I decided to get caught up so I decided, we decided to go on a 15 day cruise to Hawaii,” Ridgway said.

His vacation did not go as planned. Five days ago, the captain of the cruise announced that passengers had to return their quarters and remain there.

“It hasn’t been a hardship for us. We have two TVs in our room and we have movies and we can get all the major TV networks,” Ridgway said.

He says he is fortunate to have a room with an outside balcony.

“We have our own little neighborhood out there now. Everybody talks to everybody on their outside balcony,” Ridgway said.

The cruise has over 3500 passengers. 21 people on board tested positive for the coronavirus, 19 of whom are crew members. Ridgway says he and his wife are fine and have no serious symptoms… just a cough. Passengers who need immediate medical care will exit the ship first.

“The plan now is that when we do get off, we’re from the east coast, we’re probably going to Georgia on military planes and tested there,” Ridgway said.

Ridgway says he is anxious to get tested for the virus. After testing, he says he might have to be quarantined for another 14 days. He doesn’t know what will happen after that but is relieved to finally get off the ship.

“Just imagine how we feel. We will be excited to have this whole thing behind us,” Ridgway said.

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