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American couple quarantined on coronavirus cruise ship: 'Staying positive and hoping'

A California couple aboard the Diamond Princess cruise liner tells TODAY, "(We're) not stressed, not sick, and we're making the best of it."
/ Source: TODAY

A California couple is "making the best of it" in the midst of a 14-day quarantine aboard a cruise ship in Japan that has had 135 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

Jeri Seratti-Goldman spoke with TODAY about what she and her husband, Carl Goldman, have experienced aboard the Diamond Princess, which has been quarantined in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, since Feb. 3.

"(We're) not stressed, not sick, and we're making the best of it,'' Seratti-Goldman said. "I think we're just staying positive and hoping.''

There are 135 people, including 25 Americans, now in isolation in Japanese hospitals after testing positive for the coronavirus from the 3,766 passengers onboard the ship. The overall death toll for the coronavirus has now risen above 1,000 on mainland China, with more than 42,000 confirmed cases.

Seratti-Goldman, who owns radio station KHTS in Santa Clarita with her husband, spoke with TODAY on the seventh day of the 14-day quarantine.

She said staffers on the cruise, which is owned by Carnival's Princess Cruises, have provided them with three meals a day and clean sheets and towels. The cruise operator also refunded their trip and gave them a credit for a future cruise.

Because a high temperature is one of the first signs of the virus, passengers have been asked to take their temperatures three times a day and report the results to the ship's staff, Seratti-Goldman said.

The couple wrote in a dispatch on their radio station's website that they were given digital thermometers and instructed to immediately notify ship officials if their temperatures rose above 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

"We think that we'll be clear of even getting it because it's a 10-day incubation period,'' Seratti-Goldman said.

The Goldmans have stayed busy by waking up at 2 a.m. local time to publish stories about their experience to their radio station's website. They also have adjoining mini-suites with friends from Utah, Jerri and Mark Jorgensen, and have passed the time watching movies and exercising.

The ship has also periodically gone out to sea every few days.

"We're just excited because it's giving us fresh air and it's giving us a change of scenery,'' Seratti-Goldman said. "Listening to the ocean and the waves and the movement of the ship, it's a treat. We're just counting our blessings."

Passenger Matthew Smith had a bleaker outlook.

Smith, 57, told CNBC that the quarantine "can be a little bit depressing" and to "imagine being trapped in your bathroom" when envisioning the experience aboard the ship.