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Utahn On Quarantined Ship Tests Positive For Coronavirus

Utahn John Haering has tested positive for COVID-19, according to his wife Melanie Haering. She said her husband does not have a fever and feels no symptoms.

There is currently no treatment for the virus, only waiting until it subsides, Haering said.

“He did test positive, and he’s being held in isolation in Chiba University Hospital,” she said in a video.

Melanie Haering said she hasn’t been tested for the virus yet.

Original story continues below.

YOKOHAMA, Japan – Japanese officials have announced they will allow certain passengers to disembark from a Diamond Princess cruise ship that has been under quarantine for over one week.

At least two Utah couples are on the ship and 44 more people have tested positive for the virus, bringing the total to 218.

Tooele County resident John Haering spiked a fever while onboard the Diamond Princess ship six days after the quarantine began. He is in isolation at the hospital and his wife Melanie Haering said he has been tested for the virus, which was formally named COVID-19 on Tuesday.

It’s a waiting game for the couple during what was supposed to be a six-month retirement celebration, including a 29-day cruise aboard the Diamond Princess ship.

“John is in a place where he is actually in isolation, no internet. I know he feels alone right now. He is the first patient in the hospital for coronavirus,” Haering said. “I’m here at the ship, they wouldn’t let me go with him.”

This is the first time Haering has been separated from her husband since Thanksgiving.

Six days after the quarantine began, John Haering developed a fever.

“On Monday around 11:30 at night, he started really burning up. He had a 103-degree fever,” Melanie Haering said. “I ordered an ice bucket, we kept putting cold compresses on him.”

She said her husband’s fever broke on Wednesday but then came the call informing them he would be taken to a hospital an hour away in Chiba, Japan, as a precautionary measure.

“I am really glad for it too because he is going to get tested,” Haering said.

She said John was tested for COVID-19 upon his arrival at the hospital and test results will take a few days.

“He will get that swab back in two days and then if it’s negative they will test him again in a couple of days and wait another two days to get that swab back,” Haering said. “If it’s negative, he can go. If it’s not, he is going to have to go through the full 14 days there.”

Japanese officials recently announced they will allow passengers to disembark and continue the quarantine at a Japanese facility. Those over 80 years old or with pre-existing health conditions will be prioritized. Authorities said the first group of passengers will be tested for COVID-19 as they disembark. Those who test positive will be sent to a hospital.

“I really hope that we all get swabbed because it from my understanding it is a virus that doesn’t have a lot of symptoms,” Haering said adding that she and her husband have offered to pay for their own test of the virus. “We just want to be well and we want to be responsible if we are going to go to another country.”

While there is still uncertainty ahead, Haering said she’s grateful for the outpouring of love and support they’ve received from the ship’s crew members and those all around the world.

“Lots of people from all over the world have contacted both John and I and just said you are in our prayers. Believe me, we can feel that energy and that love come through, it just has been overwhelming,” she said.

Passengers will also be permitted to remain on the ship for the remainder of the quarantine. A letter sent from the CDC to passengers stated that the housing facility includes individual rooms and bathrooms.

“There are no clinics at these facilities,” the statement said. “Prescription medication will be provided, but medical care will require transport to a hospital or clinic. The food available will not accommodate dietary preferences but will accommodate certain medical conditions. The meals will be bento-style boxes.”

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