FUKUSHIMA, Japan — Mark and Jerri Jorgensen, of St. George, were excited for their vacation on the Diamond Princess cruise ship — they never imagined it would end with Jerri in a Japanese hospital after testing positive for the new coronavirus.
They hadn’t even heard of the virus when they got onboard in January, Mark said.
“We just dismissed it, thought, 'Well, that’s in China, the odds are so small,'” Mark said during a FaceTime interview. “The number of people that are getting it compared to the number of people there are in Asia, there is no way we would be affected or be involved. I guess karma has a sense of humor I guess.”
Jerri is the second Utahn aboard the cruise ship to test positive for the virus, also known as COVID-19. A spokesperson for the Utah Department of Health said they are aware of both cases. There are no cases of the coronavirus in the state of Utah.
Jerri is doing well and feeling fine while in the hospital, Mark said. He is not worried that she won’t beat the virus.
“They aren’t really doing anything with her. She’s just isolated and has to be there for 14 days herself now,” he said.
The couple was tested this week, because Mark is considered high risk due to a kidney transplant, he said. When they got the news that one of them had tested positive, Mark was shocked to find out it was his wife.
“An hour later, she was gone. They said pack a small bag. So, I’ve got all her stuff here and I’ve got it loaded up to get all of her and my stuff back home somehow,” he said.
Mark will be heading back to the United States and Jerri will remain overseas.
“It looks like I’m leaving on a military transport that’s going today or tomorrow, and I guess we are going to California," he said. "We are going to have to start a new quarantine ourselves for 14 days."
The only frustrating part, Mark said, was that he’s having to start another quarantine in California.
The Jorgensens are keeping their spirits high and not worrying too much, Mark said. The hardest part is the uncertainty. The couple has been quarantined since Feb. 5th after an outbreak of the coronavirus on the ship.