27 People Test Positive for COVID-19 on Carnival Cruise Ship Carrying Nearly 4,500

A spokesperson for Carnival told PEOPLE in a statement that they are "managing a small number of positive COVID cases on Carnival Vista sailing out of Galveston."

"We have managed the situation utilizing stringent health protocols which included placing those who tested positive in isolation and close contacts in quarantine," a cruise line spokesperson said.

They also noted that anyone who departed on July 31 and August 7 was notified of the cases. 

Cruise officials discovered the 27 positive cases during their process of "randomly test a large percentage of our crew on a rotating basis multiple days per week even though all are vaccinated." Belize health officials also randomly tested 68 guests before they disembarked on Wednesday.

"The health, safety and well-being of our guests, crew and the destinations we visit is our priority. All activities on the ship are taking place and our guests have been terrific at adapting to our new protocols," the spokesperson told PEOPLE. " Carnival is in daily contact with the CDC about the status of all our ships.  Our onboard protocols exceed the CDC guidelines.  The CDC's conditional sail order and our own protocols anticipate the potential for COVID on board, and our procedures are designed to manage and mitigate any situation."

The company is also implementing a new policy beginning on Saturday requiring all vaccinated guests to also show proof of a negative COVID test taken within 24 hours of departure — a rule that was already in place for unvaccinated guests.

Passengers on Carnival cruise ships are required to be vaccinated unless they have a medical or religious exemption or they are a child under 12 who is ineligible.

The information in this story is accurate as of press time. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, it's possible that some data have changed since publication. While Health is trying to keep our stories as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations for their own communities by using the CDCWHO, and their local public health department as resources.

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