“My wife had a swab taken and it came back negative,” Arnold Hopland said. “I think the original may have been a false positive, but I have no way of proving that.”
“If she has one more swab come back negative, she will be released,” said Hopland, an Elizabethton physician who founded the Medical Care walk-in clinics in Johnson City, Elizabethton and Hampton.
He said his wife is staying in a hospital room in Tokyo with two other women. He said he believes those women may not have the virus, officially called COVID-19, either.
But even if she is released from the hospital, the family is still not in the clear. Arnold Hopland is still quarantined on board the Diamond Princess in Yokohama and cannot join his wife.
He said U.S. Rep. Phil Roe has been working with U.S. government officials to return the Hoplands home, but he suspects there may be some opposition.
He said he would suggest to his wife that if she is alone in Japan with him still stuck on the ship, she should go to the U.S. Embassy. He said the embassy has not been helpful in the past, not returning his phone calls, and responding to his emails with letters he calls “boilerplate.”
“I believe the ambassador is leaving to run for the Senate and the place is on auto pilot. I think no one is making decisions.”
Another problem the Hoplands face is the fate of their luggage.
When they thought they were going to be flown back to the United States with a large group of other Americans who had been on board the ship, the Hoplands had packed their luggage and were waiting in the corridors of the ship with their luggage.
Then they got word that Jeanie Hopland had tested positive and they were told they could not leave the ship. But their luggage had already been loaded. They were told the luggage would be sent back to them, but it was not.
The luggage arrived in Texas with a group of the passengers and stacked in the parking lot with luggage from the other passengers.
One of those passengers noticed the Hoplands’ luggage in the parking lot and informed them. Meanwhile the luggage was moved. Hopland thinks it may be shipped to his son, Dr. Kenny Hopland in Elizabethton, whose address had been on the luggage.