False positive Coronavirus (COVID-19) test cancels 2020 Alaska cruise season

   August 13, 2020 ,   Accidents

A week after the first Alaskan cruise ship for 2020 returned to port with a COVID-positive guest, follow-up testing found no infected crew or passengers, and the passenger who had originally tested positive has since tested negative.

The small-ship company UnCruise Adventures (shipowner of Wilderness Adventurer) has declined to say last week’s test was a false positive. The testing program of the City and Borough of Juneau found the positive case, but borough officials said that it was unlikely that its test had provided a false reading.

1,3+ million cruise ship tourists were due to visit Alaska in 2020. All but Wilderness Adventurer had cancelled their 2020 schedules due to the USA's public health restrictions and Alaska state's Coronavirus concerns.

UnCruise Adventures said a passenger had tested negative before arriving in Alaska on August 1. Arriving in Juneau, the person had taken another test at the airport, where the port city is contracted by the state to operate a COVID-19 testing program. The cruise ship had sailed that evening, and while at sea, one passenger had received notification 3 days later by phone that the airport-administered test had come back positive.

36 passengers and 30 crew were aboard Wilderness Adventurer, which was cruising at 60% capacity. The boat returned to Port Juneau AK (its only call port), all crew and passengers were quarantined and follow-up testing was conducted.

The cruisers have since left Alaska and the vessel sailed for a Seattle WA shipyard.

UnCruise Adventures canceled its remaining 2020 sailings.