It happened: Someone on a large cruise ship in Juneau has tested positive for COVID-19

A blue cruise ship in front of a large mountain
The Celebrity Millennium anchored near downtown Juneau on Monday, July 26, 2021. City officials confirmed that a passenger on board was infected with COVID-19 — the first case in Alaska on a large cruise ship since cruising resumed in 2021. (Rashah McChesney/KTOO)

A City and Borough of Juneau official confirmed on Monday that one vaccinated person from the cruise ship Celebrity Millennium was found to be infected with COVID-19 over the weekend. The ship is in port in Juneau and is scheduled to be in Skagway Tuesday morning.

The individual did not circulate in Juneau as a tourist, and will leave the capital city by air ambulance, said Robert Barr, deputy city manager. The city is working with the cruise lines and the state’s health department to respond.

“I think that we were never expecting the cruise season to be entirely COVID free,” Barr said. “Because even though the cruise ships are highly vaccinated, we again know that vaccines are not perfect, and that they will rely on herd immunity.”

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Barr said vaccines are nonetheless the most effective way to combat the spread of the virus. He said he’s heartened that nearly 80% of Juneau’s eligible population has now had a first shot.

There will be no immediate changes to the city’s health guidelines, said Barr.

He said there’s no hard and fast threshold where Juneau would restrict ships into port, but it does plan to examine that question on a case-by-case basis.

Barr said he’s confident in the city’s partnership with the cruise industry and state health department to ensure a safe season despite occasional coronavirus cases.

RELATED: Seven fully-vaccinated people aboard a small cruise ship that docked in Ketchikan over the weekend have tested positive for COVID-19.

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