Public Health Dept. provides protocols for cruise ship passengers disembarking in Santa Barbara Co.

Posted at 6:00 PM, Mar 03, 2020

In the event novel coronavirus is identified in the community, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (PHD) has provided protocols and precautions for cruise ship passengers and crew members disembarking in Santa Barbara County.

According to a press release from PHD, cruise ship passengers and crew are required to undergo health screening procedures before boarding the cruise ship to Santa Barbara.

Crew and passengers will be barred from boarding the ship to Santa Barbara if "there is a suspect travel history," said the press release.

PHD also mandates guests and crew to take proper sanitation measures during the ship's journey, as well as to report contagious diseases to relevant agencies before arriving in Santa Barbara.

The health department says it does not advise community members to wear masks when guests arrive in Santa Barbara.

There are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Santa Barbara County and the risk to the public remains low, according to the press release.

"CDC recommendations state that masks are not an effective method for the public to protect themselves from a respiratory illness such as COVID-19," said the press release.

Instead of using a mask, public health officials say they recommend the community to practice routine hygiene methods — such as frequent hand washing and avoiding touching one's face with unwashed hands — to prevent the spread of any virus.

If a passenger or crew member tests positive for coronavirus, the ship would be redirected from Santa Barbara to one of three west coast quarantine stations in San Francisco, Los Angeles or San Diego, said PHD in its press release.

As of Tuesday, the city of Santa Barbara has not canceled any scheduled cruise ship visits but is continuing to monitor the conditions at the Santa Barbara Harbor, according to PHD.

The press release also says there have been no confirmed coronavirus cases at the nearby ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach or Hueneme.

The county department partnered with the California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to outline the above protocols.

Officials say the city of Santa Barbara typically receives around 30 cruise ships per year during the spring and fall, with most cruises coming from San Francisco, Los Angeles or San Diego. Most passengers are from the U.S. and Canada.

To see the cruise ships scheduled to port in Santa Barbara, visit this website.