Carnival cruise passenger dies after testing positive for COVID-19 onboard ship

The Carnival Vista cruise ship.
The Carnival Vista cruise ship. RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images
  • A Carnival cruise passenger died after testing positive for COVID-19 on the Carnival Vista.
  • The passenger was admitted into a hospital in Belize and later evacuated to Oklahoma, where she died.
  • Carnival Cruises reported 27 positive COVID-19 cases for its ship sailing from Galveston, Texas.
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A passenger onboard a Carnival cruise ship tested positive for COVID-19 and later died, The New York Times reported.

Over the course of two weeks in late July and early August, 27 people aboard the Carnival Vista cruise ship – including 26 crew members – were diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the report. This was the highest number of positive cases aboard any cruise ship and the first death since sailing restarted in June, the Times reported.

Marilyn Tackett, a 77-year-old from Oklahoma, tested positive aboard the ship and was admitted into a hospital in Belize, one of the ports on the cruise’s itinerary. There, she was put on a ventilator after having respiratory issues, according to the Times.

On August 6, Tackett was evacuated and arrived at a hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a statement from her family on a crowdfunding page states. At the Tulsa hospital, her condition worsened and she died, says an update on the crowdfunding page from August 15.

“We are very sorry to hear about the death of a guest who sailed on Carnival Vista,” a spokesperson for Carnival Cruise Lines told Insider in a statement. “The guest almost certainly did not contract COVID on our ship, and she was assisted with expert medical care on board and was ultimately evacuated from Belize after we provided a resource to her family.”

Carnival Cruise Lines previously did not require vaccinated passengers to bring a negative COVID-19 test or wear a mask, but the cruise line changed its guidelines following the positive cases.

“Carnival has implemented a suite of protocols that are designed to flex up as needed to adapt to the changing public health situation related to COVID-19,” the cruise line told Insider in a statement. “We meet the standards for a vaccinated cruise as defined by the CDC, with at least 95 percent of our guests and all of our crew being vaccinated.”

The Belize Tourism Board did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Tackett’s death occurred shortly before the CDC updated its guidance for cruise travelers. As Insider previously reported, the CDC now recommends that people with “increased risk for severe illness” avoid cruises regardless of their vaccination status.