Athene Bell

Retired City of Manassas school teacher Athene Bell during her campaign for school board in 2018.

Athene Bell, a former Metz Middle School teacher who ran for the City of Manassas School Board in 2018, and her husband James “Rod” Bell were among the more than 100 Americans quarantined on a cruise ship near Japan, and Athene Bell is now being treated at a Japanese military hospital for what her husband says is “a mild form” of the coronavirus.

The Manassas couple’s story was first reported Monday night by NBC News 4.  

The Bells were on the Diamond Princess cruise when it was discovered another guest, who didn’t have any symptoms while aboard the ship, tested positive for the coronavirus, the television station reported Feb. 10. 

It’s not clear when Athene Bell became ill and was taken to the military hospital.

Rod Bell, who remains quarantined on the ship, was interviewed by NBC News 4 via phone and said Athene “is getting great care at the hospital.”

“She’s being seen by two doctors. She’s in stable condition, I think. Basically, it’s a mild form of the coronavirus,” Bell said.

Athene Bell was one of five candidates who ran for three seats on the Manassas City School Board in November 2018, coming in fourth place. 

She retired from Manassas City Schools after a career in the classroom that spanned more than three decades. She taught at Metz Middle School before earning a doctorate degree in literacy and becoming a specialist stationed at the school division’s central office.

Rod Bell told NBC 4 he’s looking forward to Feb. 19, the date Princess Cruises says the quarantine will end. 

Bell said the cruise ship staff deliver meals to the people on the ship and that passengers can walk on deck while wearing face masks for a few minutes each day.

Bell also told the TV station that 40 to 50 ambulances are waiting nearby to take sick passengers to the hospital. Bell sent a video of an ambulance leaving the ship.

Princess Cruises on Monday confirmed an additional 66 cases of the flu-like virus, bringing the total number of people infected to 136. 

Bell told the TV station he's grateful and determined to stay positive.

“I’m safe, secure. My wife is safe and secure. I know the ship’s doing all they can and the Japanese are certainly very professional, in what they’re doing,” he said.

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