A ferry departs Ocracoke Island. Photo: C. Leinbach

CEDAR ISLAND–The N.C. Department of Transportation has reported that six employees on the Pamlico Sound ferry route between Cedar Island and Ocracoke have tested positive for COVID-19. Two of the positive tests came from the crew of the M/V Swan Quarter, and the other four came from shore personnel.

The six employees are recovering at home under quarantine for at least 14 days. They last worked on the route Dec. 14. Eleven other employees that were in contact with the crew have not tested positive but are also under quarantine.

Due to a temporary shortage of personnel on the route, service on the Pamlico Sound routes between Cedar Island, Swan Quarter and Ocracoke will be reduced between Dec. 22 to 28.

The schedule Dec. 22 to 28 will be as follows:
Ocracoke-Cedar Island: 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Cedar Island-Ocracoke: 7:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
Ocracoke-Swan Quarter: 10:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Swan Quarter-Ocracoke: 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

All ferry crews are required to wear face coverings when on board, while passengers are required to practice social distancing and wear face coverings while on ferry decks or in passenger lounges.

The Hyde County and Carteret County health departments and the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services have been notified of the positive tests.

The M/V Swan Quarter, which currently runs the Cedar Island-Ocracoke route, has been cleaned extensively using COVID-19 procedures.

The terminals at Cedar Island, Swan Quarter and Ocracoke have also been cleaned and sanitized since the positive tests.

During the pandemic, all ferries and terminals have undergone frequent cleanings while in service.

Passengers who think they may have been exposed to the virus should contact their local health departments.