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Utah couple on board quarantined cruise ship say 38 new coronavirus cases confirmed

utah couple updates on coronavirus cruise ship quarantine  (5).PNG
Jerri Jorgensen and her husband, Mark, from Saint George, are one week into a two-week quarantine on board cruise ship The Diamond Princess. (Photo: KUTV)

Jerri Jorgensen and her husband, Mark, from Saint George, are one week into a two-week quarantine on board cruise ship The Diamond Princess.

The couple has been docked in Japan for the past week, only allowed out of their cabins for one hour each day. But the pair remain pretty upbeat

"We're just screening. They pass out thermometers, everyone is taking their temperature regularly,” Mark said.

“If you have a high fever they want you to call in. I imagine that's how they found these 38 cases, but our temperatures are fine, so we're OK."

But another Utah couple on board the ship, from Tooele, fears they may not be so lucky.

Melanie Haering says her husband John has a fever, and has seen two doctors, but has not yet been swabbed and tested for the coronavirus. The Jorgensens say anyone with a confirmed case of the virus is removed from the ship.

"These people, more than likely, have already had it and are just now starting to show symptoms," Mark Jorgensen said.

So, what happens when the quarantine ends?

KUTV spoke with Becky Ward, with the Utah Department of Health, who says once passengers are released, the CDC will be handling the next steps.

Ward says local health departments across Utah are monitoring people who recently returned from China, where the virus outbreak began. She says they've tested 12 people here in Utah for the coronavirus: 11 cases were negative, and one is still pending.

Mark said the couple is being kept in the loop by the state department.

"We're getting regular emails from the state department, from the Tokyo embassy. They say once the quarantine ends, right now, then we will be able to take commercial flights back."

They say as of right now, they've been told they won't have to continue any sort of quarantine once released from the ship.

"There were rumors that would happen, so that was a huge relief," he said.

As for the case pending here in Utah, Ward said the tests takes one to two days to confirm results, so the outcome should be known in the near future.

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