Elderly Wimberley couple without “life-sustaining” medicine while quarantined on California cruise

UPDATE: ‪Anna has received her medications. She is still on the ship.

Governor Gavin Newsom of California says approximately 3,000 people quarantined on the Grand Princess cruise ship off the coast of San Francisco will disembark in Oakland Monday. 

At least 21 people on board the ship have tested positive for novel coronavirus and at least a dozen passengers from the ship’s previous cruise have tested positive for the virus. One passenger died. 

RELATED: US Government: Americans - especially people with health issues - should not travel on cruise ships

Governor Newsom says passengers in desperate need of medical attention will disembark first.

Approximately 1,000 Californians will then get off. The Californian residents will be taken to Travis Air Force Base, where they will spend 14 days in quarantine.

Then, non-California residents, represented by 54 countries, will disembark. Domestic passengers will be flown on charter flights from Oakland International Airport, to quarantine centers in Texas and Georgia; The Lackland Air Force Base and Dobbins Air Reserve Base.

Governor Newsom says passengers will not have contact with the general public at the airport. 


Get breaking news alerts in the FOX 7 Austin News app. It is FREE!

Download for iOS or Android


Among those set to disembark Monday are William “Skip” Casteel and Anna Casteel of Wimberly, Texas. The couple is retired and in their seventies.

Skip Casteel spent more than two decades as a sergeant for the Houston Police Department, before becoming a lieutenant for the Hays County Sheriff’s Office. He is diabetic and spent two days on the ship without insulin. On Sunday afternoon, he received four pens. 

Anna Casteel had quadruple bypass surgery a few years ago. She has spent several days without needed medications. 

“The passengers assumed that they would be back home already many of them came with medications for the period of time they thought they would be on board.” said Governor Newsom in a press conference Sunday. He added with “new medical personnel [medication] will be secured [Sunday] evening.”

Wayne Casteel, Skip Casteel’s brother who lives in Lockhart says Skip and Anna Casteel packed additional medication but did not expect to be stranded for so long. 

RELATED: San Antonio JBSA-Lackland to receive some Princess Cruise ship COVID-19 evacuees, Federal officials say

The Casteel’s had limited service on the boat Sunday but at 8:52 p.m. CDT Skip Casteel texted a FOX 7 Austin reporter, confirming that Anna Casteel was still waiting to receive medication. He said the couple had received “two phone calls from the med unit inquiring if [Anna] had gotten [the medication.] 

Wayne Casteel told FOX 7 Austin he is not getting excited until he sees results. He has spent hours fighting for the couple.  “Anywhere from six to eight hours of phone calls and hold time and still no answers,” he explained.  

Wayne Casteel called California’s Office of Emergency services, the San Francisco Police Department, State department, journalists and even the White House in an effort to secure medication for his brother and his sister-in-law. 

“Yesterday I was mad, angry with a lot of rage, but it was kind of an emotional relief to find somebody who would listen,” an emotional Wayne Casteel said.

Skip Casteel told FOX 7 Austin via text “Most of our info has first come from news channels. Then from the Captain 2-3 hours later.” 

“We cannot be more deeply empathetic to those who are stranded off our coast, and I know that there’s a sense of frustration, deep frustration that many of these passengers on this ship have that they’re not getting real-time information,” said Newsom.