‘I feel like I’m in a movie’: Victoria woman shares quarantine experience after cruise ship coronavirus outbreak

Melanie Sibbitt, of Victoria, is quarantined after a coronavirus outbreak onboard the Grand Princess cruise ship from Hawaii to San Francisco in early March. (Courtesy of Melanie Sibbitt)
Canadians are tested for coronavirus on their flight to Trenton, Ontario, after a coronavirus outbreak onboard the Grand Princess cruise ship from Hawaii to San Francisco in early March. (Courtesy of Melanie Sibbitt)
Melanie Sibbitt, a Victoria woman, is currently in quarantine after a coronavirus outbreak onboard the Grand Princess cruise ship from Hawaii to San Francisco in early March. (Courtesy of Melanie Sibbitt)
Passengers from Grand Princess cruise, docked in San Francisco, disembark the ship to get tested for COVID-19 after a coronavirus outbreak onboard. (Courtesy of Melanie Sibbitt)
Melanie Sibbitt, a Victoria woman, is currently living in quarantine in Trenton, Ontario. She will be released on March 24. (Courtesy of Melanie Sibbitt)

It was an overdue time to rest and relax, but now Melanie Sibbitt might need a vacation from her vacation.

The Victoria woman is one of 228 Canadians stuck in quarantine at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Trenton, Ontario after their Grand Princess cruise confirmed coronavirus outbreak onboard in early March.

“It’s been surreal,” Sibbitt said. “Many people think that it would never happen to them until it does. Now I’m the one that gets a first-hand look and I’m trying my best to stay upbeat and positive. For some reason, I wasn’t surprised because it’s possible anywhere.”

READ MORE: Princess Cruises pauses global operations, cancels four Victoria calls

Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne told reporters that a “handful” of crew members tested positive for the COVID-19, although he declined to give specific numbers. There were 237 Canadians on board.

“We have certain crew members, a very limited number of crew members, which tested positive which are Canadian on the ship, and they will remain on the ship in accordance with the protocol that has been agreed with the CDC and local and state authorities in the U.S.,” Champagne said in Ottawa outside the entrance to a cabinet meeting.

Some other Canadians remained in California for health reasons unrelated to the virus, he said.

RELATED: Glenlyon Norfolk School closes campuses in Victoria, Oak Bay, due to potential COVID-19 cases

Sibbitt was told on Wednesday that the first Canadian cruise passenger case was confirmed while in quarantine. Officials sent a letter to each Canadian saying that the individual was placed on a separate floor.

The Canadian Red Cross is providing three meals a day and winter clothing, for those who only packed shorts and sandals.

Sibbitt spends time exercising, calling family members and watching TV. Anything that breaks the monotony of quietness is something she enjoys. She says besides meditation and journalling, her favourite time is spent in the brief moments of fresh air – each Canadian gets four one-hour time slots outside for a quick breather.

ALSO READ: First presumptive COVID-19 case reported on Vancouver Island

“The past 48 hours have been exhausting,” said Sibbitt on Wednesday. “I feel like I’m in a movie. The important thing to remember is to not give into the hysteria. The cruise ship industry is taking the brunt of it, and I would definitely cruise [with Princess] again.”

Sibbitt and the rest of Grand Princess’ Canadian cruisers expect to be in quarantine until March 24.

–with files from Canadian Press

aaron.guillen@goldstreamgazette.com


@iaaronguillen
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusCruise ShipsOntario

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Young deckhands backed out of fatal Arctic Fox II trip just before the fishboat departed

Inexperienced twin brothers had ‘gut feeling’ and bailed before going to open ocean

Police investigating alleged assault on Oak Bay Avenue

Staff at Oak Bay Home Hardware say one person was taken to hospital

VIDEO: Seal pup and mom play and ‘kiss’ in Oak Bay Marina

BRNKL seal cam captures harbour seal growing up in busy harbour

Oak Bay neighbourhoods rocked by blasting activity

Oak Bay seeks new rock blasting bylaw regarding ‘continuous’ noise

Greater Victoria hardly making a dent in greenhouse gas emissions target

One-per-cent drop from 2007 to 2018 a far cry from the 33-per-cent goal for 2020

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Old-growth forest defenders in Campbell River call for B.C. forest minister’s resignation

Protestors outside North Island MLA’s office ask government to stop old-growth logging

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

Feds commit $305M in additional funds for Indigenous communities during COVID-19

Money can be used to battle food insecurity and support children and mental health

We were a bit tone deaf: Hobo Cannabis renamed Dutch Love after backlash

Hobo Cannabis has various locations in Vancouver, Kelowna and Ottawa

Most Read