OKC Man Talks About Experience After Ebola Scare On Cruise

Monday, October 20th 2014, 6:37 pm
By: News 9

Several Oklahomans were on board a cruise ship that had an Ebola scare over the weekend.

A Dallas healthcare worker who handled Ebola samples was on that trip and self-quarantined as a precaution, then tested negative for the deadly disease.

Josh Turnage of Oklahoma City said passengers were kept in the loop and he never really panicked. He recorded video as a US Coast Guard helicopter picked up blood samples to ensure the passenger on board did not have Ebola.

“You had a few people on the ship that were worried, obviously that is going to happen, but overall, the feeling was pretty good,” Turnage said.

The blood sample was from a woman who had handled specimens from the USA's first confirmed Ebola patient, who later died in Dallas.

10/19/2014 Related Story: Some OK Students, Faculty Asked To Stay Home After Ebola Scare On Cruise

“We were actually pretty confident in the way they were handling it,” Turnage told News 9. “They handled it very professionally. They told us everything that was going on. They told us everything that the CDC was saying to them.”

Turnage said it started with an announcement from the captain of the Carnival Cruise ship, Magic. He said the announcement said the CDC changed its policy and wanted the healthcare worker to return to shore, even though she was not showing symptoms.

“I mean, it's a little intimidating when you hear that that's going on, but Carnival did a really good job at letting us know that she's showing no signs, at this point there is no infection. And later on when the helicopter came and did the blood test, we found out there was no infection,” Turnage explained.

The woman and her husband volunteered to quarantine themselves out of consideration for the other passengers. Turnage said there was no element of fear or panic, just passengers trying to contact their families to say they were ‘OK.'

“There is no reason for anyone to be worried in Oklahoma City because there was never a problem,” said Turnage.

Carnival gave each passenger $200 in cash and a 50% off voucher for their next cruise.