SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – It’s been nearly a year and a half since the first deadly coronavirus case hit California. One Sacramento woman remembers it well. Margie Hartle was onboard the Grand Princess Cruise Ship in February 2020 when a 71-year-old Placer County man got sick with COVID-19 and later died.
“All of us, we left the ship not knowing. And then I think it was a week or two weeks after we found out, that person had died,” Hartle told CBS13.READ MORE: 'It Meant The World To Me': Oakdale Officer Thanks Citizens Who Helped Him After Hit-And-Run
That cruise ship was believed to be the source of California’s first deadly coronavirus case. A lot has happened since then including masks, social distancing and businesses put on lockdown. Even with the state officially reopening. Margie says she’s still taking precautions.
“I’m going to wear my mask. I deal with the public a lot. I feel better. I feel safer if I wear my mask. That’s just me. I’m going to follow all the rules,” said Hartle.
But it’s not just her cruise ship experience that’s impacting her decision. Two days before Thanksgiving, Hartle lost her brother, Richard, to COVID-19.
“And I got to say goodbye to him on the phone and it’s not fair. It’s just not fair,” said Hartle. “He’s younger than I am. It’s not fair. I wish he had gotten his shot.”READ MORE: Could Mask Mandates Drive Business To Surrounding Counties Who Don't Have One?
That’s why she encourages people to get the vaccine and even gets angry when some refuse the shot.
“It’s not like the flu. Until someone close to you dies, then you’ll know then you’ll get it. But by then it’ll be too late,” said Hartle.
After a year of tough lessons learned, the question now is will she ever go on a cruise again? Hartle says absolutely.
“At my age, I can’t let fear stop me from traveling. I’ve got the travel bug. I’ve got a whole year of travel bug, so I’ve just got to get out there,” said Hartle.MORE NEWS: Kaiser Permanente Sued By Federal Government Over Alleged Medicare Fraud
She has several cruises mapped out. In fact, she already booked her next cruise to Alaska in April 2022.