On Monday morning at 5 a.m. PST, an Ewa Beach couple will have their temperatures taken one last time before heading to San Francisco Airport and boarding their flight home to Honolulu.
Eric and Debbie Pagan were on the Diamond Princess cruise ship which docked in Japan on Feb. 5, after a passenger onboard tested positive for coronavirus. They were then flown to Travis Air Force Base in California for another 14-days of quarantine.
Even after an unexpected 46-day vacation, the Pagans remain in good spirits.
Debbie Pagan said they will have their temperatures checked in the morning and will board a bus to the airport at 7 a.m.
“They will be giving us a release form and they are going to tag us with a certain color tag, and tag our luggage then we go down to the bus and they’ll help us take our luggage down,” she explained.
Since they arrived at Travis Air Force Base they haven’t been able to cook in their kitchen due to fire safety concerns, and they haven’t had much choice in what they want to eat.
“For me personally I like the food more at the Princess,” laughed Eric Pagan. “You can almost expect what’s coming like a turkey sandwich on white bread here but we’re so grateful that they do come and bring us meals,” said Debbie Pagan.
They’ve been told to keep a six-foot distance from others while outdoors and have kept busy by playing games, puzzles and reading books.
“It wasn’t an easy task or a simple task, it wasn’t a bed of roses, but when you’re with your loved one, I’ve been married to her for so long it’s made it a little easier to go through it together,” said Eric Pagan.
Other than their family and their dog Snowball, KHON2 asked what they’ve missed most.
“The feeling of freedom,” said Debbie Pagan. “I was telling him if we want to eat something let’s go eat it and if you want to do something, do it. It’s the freedom, it’s just being able to do what you want to do when you want to do it.”
The couple said they have been getting daily briefings from the staff at Travis Air Force Base.
In all, they were told that 22 of the 171 people who arrived on base tested positive for Covid-19.
Other media outlets said at least 700 others who were connected to Diamond Princess have also come down with the virus.
The Pagan’s have been able to stay healthy through it all.
“We do a lot of washing hands, it’s automatic now,” said Eric Pagan. “I’ve never seen this man wash his hands so much,” his wife said.
They said they watched the local news and saw toilet paper and hand sanitizers fly off the shelves.
“We’ve gone through all of this for almost a month with soap and water. That’s the basic thing you have to do is wash your hands,” said the Pagans.
“As an island, we’re going to be quick to run and do all this stuff and not to say it’s not going to happen but it’s good to be prepared,” said Eric Pagan.
He recommended people order an emergency food bucket that comes with a 30-day supply of food that has a long shelf life.
Monday, March 2, will be the Pagan’s first time among the general public since Feb. 5.
“It’s going to be very different,” Debbie laughed. “I’m going to be wiping this chair and that chair and wiping it because we don’t want to get it. We’ve been so good of not getting the virus that you know, what if it’s this one plane ride that someone on the plane ends up giving it to us?” she said.
Hawaii health officials said the Pagans will not have to undergo any additional quarantine and will return home like any other passengers flying in from the U.S. mainland.
The Pagans said the Diamond Princess paid for their flight home and said they will go on another cruise in the near future, saying “Hopefully this was just a once in a lifetime experience and an experience of a lifetime.”