Fresno woman returns to U.S., still in coronavirus quarantine

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Fresno woman stuck in a coronavirus quarantine on a cruise ship for two weeks has returned to the United States, but stepped right into a new quarantine.

The end of the Diamond Princess cruise came about ten days late for 300 Americans who let people in full hazmat suits load their luggage onto charter flights bound for the U.S.

A coronavirus outbreak seized the ship in early February and health officials admit their quarantine wasn't very effective as the virus spread to more than 450 passengers.

Fresno's Della Metzler boarded the plane headed for Travis Air Force Base and landed early Monday morning.

"I got her extra clothes, everything else," said her daughter, Lori Metzler. "Got her iPad so she can connect to the real world for the first time in quite a while."

Lori drove to the base to deliver some medication and basics like coffee, but Metzler is quarantined all over again.

Doctors would've monitored the 78-year-old anyway, but during the evacuation process, they realized 14 patients who tested positive for coronavirus also boarded the flights -- and Metzler came too close for comfort.

"She found out the person she was sitting with on the bus was positive for the virus," said Lori Metzler. "So my mom, who's been negative this whole time, is now sitting next to someone who's positive."

Doctors will examine her twice a day inside the new 14-day quarantine at the Air Force base.

Metzler has her own hotel room with a view of the outside world and she can take deliveries soon.

She's fenced in and has federal marshals keeping watch, but the base also has organized activities -- like volleyball and tai chi.

"Look," said fellow Diamond Princess evacuee Mark Jorgensen as he showed off his new quarantine room. "They gave us Firehouse subs at the Air Force base. Those people could not have been nicer, more accommodating and helpful and upbeat."

Metzler's sister wasn't as fortunate.

81-year-old Sally Oberst is one of 46 infected Americans from the same cruise ship forced to stay and recover in Japanese hospitals.

One of her daughters tells Action News she's free of fever Monday and feeling better.

Doctors can release her in a week, so she could get back to her Stanislaus County home almost a week before Metzler can return to Fresno.
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