By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

Sheridan city manager, wife, waiting to disembark ship

Sheridan City Manager Frank Sheridan and his wife, Rhoda, remained aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship Thursday morning, days after it docked at the Port of Oakland with more than 20 passengers sickened by coronavirus.

The ship had remained off the California coast since last week after a passenger from a recent trip died of COVID-19 in Placer County, California. The ship’s 2,400 passengers have been isolated in their cabins.

“We’re still aboard,” Frank Sheridan said in a telephone interview Thursday morning. “We’ve been sitting in this room for a while. There are about 500 of us left. We think we’re going to get off today.”

The ship initially sailed from the coast of San Francisco to Hawaii, where the Sheridan couple spent four days.

Rhoda said she and her husband found a note on the door of their cabin on Wednesday, March 4, saying a stop at a Mexican port city was being eliminated, and the ship was returning to the Bay Area because of the fear passengers had been infected with coronavirus.

At least 21 were determined to be infected before the ship docked.

He said they were left with overnight bags after their luggage was picked up by cruise officials. Luggage belonging to stranded passengers is believed to be sitting in U-Haul trucks either at the port or Oakland International Airport, Sheridan said.

He and Rhoda watched passengers efficiently disembark the ship Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

“It’s a big operation,” Sheridan said. “As people get off, they get on a bus, and the bus drivers are wearing protective suits. The California Highway Patrol leads them off the dock. Workers then come on board to clean.”

Each bus is then provided an escort to an airport, 8.5 miles away, he said. Passengers then board chartered airplanes bound for Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Georgia, Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, or an unidentified California base, possibly Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego.

“They’ve gotten more efficient at moving people out of here,” Sheridan said.

Sheridan said he and his wife are uncertain where they will go when they get off the ship.

“When we get to the base, we’ll be handed a quarantine order. They’ll test us. The quarantine, 14 days, does not start until we get tested. It’s frustrating, because we’ve been in this stateroom for seven days or so, where it feels like we’ve been quarantined.”

The Oregon Health Authority called the Sheridans on Wednesday to obtain contact information, so they could be notified about how they will return home after quarantine.

Princess Cruise Lines will make the necessary travel arrangements to Oregon.

Sheridan had planned to return to his City Hall office on March 9. City work is getting done in his absence. Sheridan said he’s been communicating with City Recorder Yvonne Hamilton and Mayor Harry Cooley.

“They’re doing well,” he said. “I feel comfortable about all of that.”

Hamilton was busy in the office Thursday morning, saying “I wish he’d get off that ship.

City Recorder Marci Lumley showed up for work earlier this week with a cough and soon went home.

“I’m almost on top of everything for the council meeting and trying to get as organized as I can be,” Hamilton said. The meeting is Monday, March 16,

The city bought and prepared a laptop for Sheridan, which will be overnighted to him when it’s known where he will spend the 14-day quarantine period, Hamilton said.


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