Atlanta couple who got COVID-19 on cruise ship better, coming home

An Atlanta couple, sickened by coronavirus last month while vacationing on a cruise ship in Japan, are fully recovered and on their way back to Atlanta.

An Atlanta couple, sickened by coronavirus last month while vacationing on a cruise ship in Japan, are fully recovered and on their way back to Atlanta.

Renee and Clyde Smith, both 80, never experienced symptoms, but were hospitalized for more than three weeks after testing positive for the virus, according to their son, David Smith, an attorney who lives in Macon.

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They got the all clear after two tests for each of them came back negative, according to Smith.

“It’s awesome,” the son said. “We are so relieved. And it’s a reminder we should never panic.”

The Smiths’ adventure on a Diamond Princess cruise ship started out well with an excursion to Hạ Long Bay in northeast Vietnam, known for its emerald waters. They renewed their marriage vows on the ship.

Renee and Clyde Smith’s trip to Asia started well, and here they are on an excursion to Hạ Long Bay in northeast Vietnam. But the trip took a turn when were tested positive for a new coronavirus. They are now hospitalized in Japan. CONTRIBUTED
Renee and Clyde Smith’s trip to Asia started well, and here they are on an excursion to Hạ Long Bay in northeast Vietnam. But the trip took a turn when were tested positive for a new coronavirus. They are now hospitalized in Japan. CONTRIBUTED

But their trip took a turn for the worse as the new coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 illness, swept through the cruise liner, forcing a mandatory quarantine. In the end, several hundred people on the ship contracted COVID-19, including 46 Americans. More than 100 Americans were also evacuated and placed into quarantine on Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.

The Smiths will be coming back to a state where there are two confirmed cases of COVID-19. About 15 people in Georgia had been tested for coronavirus as of Tuesday, public health officials said. State officials have said the risks to Georgians remains low.

CORONAVIRUS TIPS

CDC recommends preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases:

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

• Stay home when you are sick.

• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

• CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

• If you are concerned you might have the coronavirus, call your healthcare provider before going to a hospital or clinic. In mild cases, your doctor might give you advice on how to treat symptoms at home without seeing you in person, which would reduce the number of people you expose. But in more severe cases an urgent care center or hospital would benefit from advance warning because they can prepare for your arrival. For example, they may want you to enter a special entrance, so you don’t expose others.

Source: CDC

So far, there are more than 100 confirmed and presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in the United States, including people in Washington, California, Florida and New York. Many of the diagnoses have come in the last week.

The Smiths’ two grandsons, who accompanied them on the cruise, were among those evacuated to Texas.

David Smith said both of his nephews tested negative for COVID-19, completed the quarantine and recently returned to Atlanta.

He also said his parents grew close to the nurses at the hospital in Tokyo, and always speak glowingly of the care they received.

The couple passed the time reading. Their meals included soups, vegetables and white rice.

“My parents never lost their optimism,” Smith said.

When they first arrived at the hospital, the couple were in side-by-side rooms. But a nurse moved Clyde into his wife’s room so they could be together.

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