Cruise passenger’s anxious wait for COVID-19 results

A CAIRNS woman returning home from an ocean cruise has been left in an agonising two- week limbo while waiting for results of two sets of COVID-19 swab tests.

Disembarking from the Carnival Spirit on March 14 in Melbourne, Deborah Robins was tested on board the ship on March 11 after exhibiting symptoms of the disease.

Self-isolating since returning to Smithfield, Ms Robins went to the Cairns Hospital to get a second test on Saturday.

Smithfield resident Deb Robbins has been waiting for multiple COVID-19 swab results after falling ill during a cruise ship holiday.
Smithfield resident Deb Robbins has been waiting for multiple COVID-19 swab results after falling ill during a cruise ship holiday.

Now, after 11 days in isolation the retired schoolteacher is yet to receive any word on what the tests found.

"Its bizarre and so frustrating," she said. "When I was tested by the doctors on the ship, they said it has nothing to do with them and the swab goes to the Sydney testing centre and they would be in touch.

"Where the hell did our tests go? That's what I am trying to find out.

"I am a bit suspicious but I just want to know how many days do I have to wait, it seems like no one knows anything."

Ms Robins said she was taking her responsibility to protect others seriously.

"I go nowhere and see no one and just make a lot of phone calls and emails," she said.

The Carnival Spirit Cruise Ship docked in Sydney, Monday, March 16.
The Carnival Spirit Cruise Ship docked in Sydney, Monday, March 16.

Ms Robins said she had not been given a clear answer from the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital Health Service about when she could expect test results or even if patients were notified of negative test results.

"I did get through to Tropical Health who took my date of birth and said they would try to find out but it was the last I heard from them," she said.

Carnival Australia said it could not comment on individual passengers.

"However, I can say that no passenger on Carnival Cruise Line's Australian based ships Carnival Spirit and Carnival Splendor has tested positive for COVID-19," a spokesman said.

"On-board medical centre health professionals take swabs which are then provided to the relevant public health authority for analysis."

A Queensland Health spokeswoman said results could take "several days".

"If the result is positive, you will receive a call from a public health unit, which will advise you what to do next. If the result is negative, you will also be notified," she said.

Originally published as Cruise passenger's anxious wait for COVID-19 results



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