Marilyn Tackett, a retired Sunday school teacher, departed Galveston, Texas aboard the cruise ship on July 31. She died August 14, several days after testing positive on the Carnival Vista ship.
It is unclear how she contracted the virus. On August 3, Tackett went on an excursion in Roatán, when the ship docked at the island about 40 miles off the northern coast of Honduras.
Marilyn Tackett, 77, (pictured) passed away on August 14 after testing positive for the virus onboard the Carnival Vista cruise ship days after it made a stop in Belize City
Tackett was among 27 passengers to test positive for the virus aboard the Carnival Vista cruise ship carrying over 1,400 crew and nearly 3,000 passengers
On August 4, when the ship arrived in Belize, Tackett decided to forgo an excursion with her family members. When Tackett’s family returned, she was having difficulty breathing.
Her family immediately called the ship’s medical personnel, who administered a COVID test that came back positive, the Amandala of Belize reported. Tackett was diagnosed with COVID-19.
According to a GoFundMe page created by Tackett’s family, the 77-year-old was admitted to a hospital in Belize and put on a ventilator.
Her condition worsened and she was taken to a hospital in Tulsa where she was treated but eventually died August 14.
The cruise was her first trip outside the U.S.
‘We just wanted to get on here and thank all of you for your support, love and prayers. Memaw fought as long as she could. To know she’s reunited with lost loved ones and that she’s basking in The Lord’s presence now is a huge comfort,’ Tara Cameron, one of Tackett’s grandchildren, wrote on the page.
‘We’ll continue to walk in Faith like she taught us and try to spread love and kindness like she did.’
A request for comment from DailyMail.com to Tackett’s family wasn’t immediately answered.
The ship departed from its port in Galveston, Texas, before arrival in Belize on Wednesday
The ship was carrying 1,300 crew members and 3,000 passengers, all who had to provide negative COVID-19 test results to board and re-enter the ship
Tackett was among 27 passengers to test positive for the virus aboard the Carnival Vista cruise ship, which carried more than 1,400 crew members and nearly 3,000 passengers.
While the cruise line did not test vaccinated passengers before they embarked for the cruise, Carnival said it is ‘highly unlikely’ Tackett contracted the virus while onboard the ship.
‘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 said in a statement.
All 27 people were vaccinated, and most had mild or no symptoms and were in isolation, according to the statement from the Belize Tourism Board.
The tourism board said 99.98% of the ship’s crew was vaccinated, as well as 96.5% of its passengers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigated the ship and said it ‘remains under observation.’
In a statement August 4, Carnival announced that beginning August 14, passengers must wear a mask in certain indoor areas of ships, and provide a negative COVID test within three days of embarkment for cruises
On August 22, the cruise line announced that beginning August 28, it will require vaccination proof for all passengers 12 and over.
Florida Gov Ron DeSantis had signed into law the ‘vaccine passport’ ban
The number of deaths from coronavirus in the US since the start of the pandemic has surpassed 619,000
Beginning Sept. 3, the Bahamas is restricting cruise ships from entering the country’s ports unless all passengers over 12 have been vaccinated.
An exception is made for those with medical issues that preclude inoculation.
‘Effective Aug. 28 through October, for departures from all Atlantic and Gulf homeports, only children under 12 and adults with a medical condition that prohibits their vaccination are exempt from vaccination requirements to sail,’ a Carnival statement about the new Bahamas restriction read.
‘Carnival is advising guests of this update, and any guests that have received an exemption applicable through October have been informed of this change and that exemptions beyond these two categories are rescinded.’
In May, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis banned cruise lines departing from ports there from requiring vaccine passports for passengers.
Norwegian Cruise Line battled the governor in court and challenged the vaccine passport ban. A judge temporarily blocked the Florida law.
The cruise line argued that the law is an unconstitutional infringement on First Amendment free speech. But the state’s attorney said the law’s aim is to prevent discrimination against passengers who don’t get the shot.
Cruise ships were the first super-spreaders when the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020. The enclosed environment and contact between travelers from different countries were main factors contributing to the severity of the outbreak.
The CDC reported that more than 800 confirmed cases occurred on just three cruise ship voyages in the U.S. during the initial weeks of the pandemic.
Ocean voyages were suspended in March last year as the pandemic cut a devastating path around the world, with hubs like Florida losing an estimated $5.6 billion.
The cruise industry is hugely important to the Florida economy, generating yearly revenues of $9 billion and providing jobs for 160,000 people, according to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).
Ships started sailing again earlier this year after the CDC released comprehensive guidelines, which included a fully vaccinated crew and requirements for everyone over 16 to present proof of vaccination against COVID-19.