Update on UnCruise Adventures
The majority of guests from the UnCruise Adventures Wilderness Adventurer that were quarantined left Juneau this past weekend. When the small cruise vessel returned early to Juneau on August 5 after a guest onboard received notification of a positive COVID-19 test result, all guests and crew members quarantined in Juneau as State of Alaska Public Health officials conducted the contact investigation. Public Health identified five close contacts – four family members and one other UnCruise guest. Public Health cleared everyone else from quarantine and, according to UnCruise, guests started returning home August 8.
Public Health cleared the guest who tested positive for COVID-19 from isolation on August 11, which is 10 days after the person took the positive test. Per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, a person who tests positive but has no symptoms – which is true of the UnCruise passenger – can end isolation 10 days after their positive test. The guest has since left Juneau. The guest’s close contacts, though, remain quarantined in Juneau until early next week. According to CDC, a close contact should quarantine for 14 days after their last contact with the person who tested positive.
UnCruise canceled all future cruises from Juneau. The Wilderness Adventurer departed Juneau with all the crewmembers onboard on Monday, August 10.
GUEST WHO TESTED POSITIVE
The guest who tested positive for COVID-19 took an initial test on July 28 prior to departing their home. The individual arrived in Juneau August 1 with a negative result. Per the State of Alaska Travel Mandate at the time, the person tested again upon arrival to the Juneau airport. Like all travelers’ tests done at the Juneau International Airport, the guest’s sample was sent to the State of Alaska Public Health Laboratory in Fairbanks to be processed. The UnCruise ship departed Juneau for its multi-day cruise on August 1. On August 4, the guest onboard received notification from the State of Alaska of a positive result from the airport test.
Later that day, the guest who tested positive, along with four family members, were tested for COVID-19 while still onboard the vessel; those results came back negative. Since then, there’s been speculation that the guest had a “false-positive” result from the second test done at the Juneau airport.
According to State of Alaska Epidemiology, the false-positive error rate of the molecular diagnostic test – which is the type of test done at the Juneau airport – is very low. No laboratory error was identified during the processing of the test. Usually, claims of “false positives” occur when someone tests positive without symptoms and then, shortly thereafter, tests negative. This pattern doesn’t necessarily mean that either test is wrong. The key idea, according to state epidemiology, is that COVID-19 is not a chronic infection. The expectation is that people who test positive will, later on, test negative. According to UnCruise owner Dan Blanchard, the guest on his boat, indeed, received a positive COVID-19 test result.
All other guests were tested for COVID-19 August 6 using kits provided by UnCruise. Most of those results have come back negative; UnCruise says six tests appear to have been lost.
The City and Borough of Juneau Emergency Operations Center tested all crew members on August 6; those results have all come back negative.
Read UnCruise Adventures’ press releases on this issue:
Read CBJ’s previous information releases on UnCruise:
Aug. 6 – Update on UnCruise Adventures