'Awesome' trip to Rome turns into nightmare for Raleigh family stuck in COVID hotel

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Friday, December 24, 2021
Raleigh family's cautionary tale: Stuck in a COVID hotel in Rome
After an "awesome" time in Rome, a Raleigh family's plans for a cruise and a flight home were derailed by a positive COVID-19 test, Now, they can't make it home for the holidays.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Paige Van Lenten and her family saw a lot in three days in Rome.

But now the only thing they are seeing is the inside of a hotel room.

"We had an awesome three days, a truly awesome three days in Rome," she said.

The Raleigh family is quarantined in a COVID hotel on the outskirts of Rome. and they can't get back to North Carolina.

Van Lenten said they were prepared for a tough time being abroad but nothing like this.

The family is vaccinated and boosted.

"It's scary, we have all been scared of COVID over this time, and we've done everything we can do," she said.

After their three days in the Eternal City, they had planned to hop on a cruise to Athens and fly back from there.

But Van Lenten's daughter tested positive COVID-19 right before they walked onto the ship, and they were escorted off the port and to the hotel.

Now they're bound to the COVID hotel and Van Lenten said people in Hazmat suits come by to take their temperatures and pulses.

Her daughter is asymptomatic.

"They will test us in seven days and at that point, if we're all negative we have the ability to leave the country or leave quarantine," she said. "My daughter will be tested in 10 days."

The State Department said traveling internationally is a "dynamic" situation and you have to be prepared for mandatory testing and quarantines.

"If you do travel internationally, be sure to make contingency plans as your trip may be severely disrupted, and it may be difficult to arrange travel back to the United States," the department said.

Van Lenten said she wants to get some of her family members home if possible, and she'll stay longer with her daughter but she's not getting any answers.

She said her cruise ship has been helpful and is paying the family's way back to Raleigh.

"I just want to get home, we will quarantine in her house but it's still home," Paige said. "The hotel is not home."

Experts said you need to be very careful when traveling out of the country because the rules can change on an almost daily basis.