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Coast Guard tells cruises to prepare to care for sick people for ‘indefinite period’

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GALVESTON

March 31 2020

Two crew members from Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas cruise ship have tested positive for COVID-19, Port of Galveston officials confirmed Monday.

One of those crew members has been hospitalized and the other was still quarantined aboard the ship, along with about 1,250 other crew members, as of Monday evening, officials said.

 

The Liberty of the Seas is one of four nearly empty cruise ships that have been rotating out of the Port of Galveston over the past two weeks. The ship left the port Monday and was moored at an anchorage point off the Texas coast, Port of Galveston Director Rodger Rees said.

The ships need to move occasionally to resupply and keep their engines and other equipment working properly, he said, explaining that crew members remain aboard while the ships are berthed.

Liberty of the Seas is the second Galveston-based cruise ship to be connected to a case of COVID-19. Last week, Carnival Cruise Line informed passengers that one of the crew members of the Carnival Freedom had tested positive for COVID-19 and urged them to quarantine themselves because of their potential exposure.

It was unclear Monday whether Royal Caribbean was similarly notifying passengers who were on the Liberty of the Seas during its most recent voyage March 8. The ship returned to port from that voyage March 15.

In a statement to The Daily News, a Royal Caribbean spokesman said the situation aboard the Liberty of the Seas was "fluid."

 

"The health and well-being of our crew is our foremost priority," Jonathan Fishman said. "Crew members who exhibited symptoms will receive medical care in accordance with our health and safety protocols.

"We are in continuous contact with multiple government authorities and public health officials, and we appreciate their support and guidance in protecting everyone’s health and safety."

Members of the Wharves Board of Trustees were informed about the first diagnosed case Sunday, officials said. Trustees were told that at least 30 crew members were allowed off the ship and driven to an airport, officials said.

Those crew members were U.S. citizens, Rees said on Monday. They were screened for COVID-19 symptoms before they were allowed off the ship and then driven directly to a local airport, Rees said.

The Galveston County Health District has been informed about the infection aboard the cruise ship, a spokeswoman said.

The U.S. Coast Guard is one of the lead agencies in charge of monitoring and screening people on ships coming into the port for COVID-19 symptoms, Rees said. The Coast Guard responded to The Daily News about the cruise ship on Monday evening. 

"The Coast Guard is using our statutory authorities to direct vessel movement in support of CDC operations," Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Johanna Strickland said. "We are working closely with the CDC to ensure that reports of any sick or ill persons are handled in the most expedient manner and to determine the best course of action to deal with vessels who have crew and/or passengers who are displaying symptoms of COVID-19. "

 
 

John Wayne Ferguson: 409-683-5226; john.ferguson@galvnews.com or on Twitter @johnwferguson.

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Many of the passengers onboard these ships have booked a 31 day sailing from Buenos Aires to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. They were due to circumvent the Panama Canal today and make there way to PE for disembarkation on the 7th of April. 

 

I am not sure if I have seen that fact noted in the thread. 

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Is there any reason cruise lines haven't sent their people home to their home countries and truly docked these ships empty?  It's getting almost ridiculous how many crew members are getting medi-vaced off per day on ships that have been through their cruises long ago...

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1 hour ago, WisconsinFan said:

Compassion galore here. I do not live in South Florida, but I do live in the state where we were planning on welcoming 50,000 people from all over the US and PR to join us in mid-July along a beautiful in land freshwater sea. Maybe we should just tell them to stay home and don't come here until they figure things out.

These people need help now, not July, please call your governor, your state has minimal outbreak, call your governor, arrange flights to Wisconsin, please get these people in your hospitals, you said you want to bring 50,000 in July, no they need your help now!!

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1 minute ago, TwoMisfits said:

Is there any reason cruise lines haven't sent their people home to their home countries and truly docked these ships empty?  It's getting almost ridiculous how many crew members are getting medi-vaced off per day on ships that have been through their cruises long ago...

Many have been sent home, and there's not enough space to dock all the ships.

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3 minutes ago, Newleno said:

These people need help now, not July, please call your governor, your state has minimal outbreak, call your governor, arrange flights to Wisconsin, please get these people in your hospitals, you said you want to bring 50,000 in July, no they need your help now!!

You obviously do not know that the DNC is coming to Wisconsin to nominate their candidate.  We do not have a minimal outbreak, we just are doing everything we can to flatten the curve. Our state weathered the pandemic of 1918 because we stayed home.

But perhaps this is what everyone needs to remember- the last post by a NYC doctor who died of COVID-19 (and a friend of one of my friends) be kind to one and other, because in the end all we have is each other.

image.thumb.png.aab5829166088bf225777b74738f56d3.png

 

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1 hour ago, WisconsinFan said:

Compassion galore here. I do not live in South Florida, but I do live in the state where we were planning on welcoming 50,000 people from all over the US and PR to join us in mid-July along a beautiful in land freshwater sea. Maybe we should just tell them to stay home and don't come here until they figure things out.

Sigh.  A few points... 1.  Hoping to host healthy people that will spend money in your state is not the same as having actively ill people (mostly foreign nationals; it would be easier if it were all US and PR) dumped in one location when local cases are already rising, local supplies are running short, and local medical capacity is needed for locals.  2.  I just saw a report today that the DNC is indeed considering cancelling if things have not settled by then.  Does that surprise you?  If so, you are not paying attention.  3.  But no need to wait until July to do your part.  There is plenty of money and compassion in Wisconsin, so step up and arrange an medical plane to take a plane load of sick folks straight to WI and care for them.  Stop posting here and get to work on that now.

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5 minutes ago, WisconsinFan said:

 I wish you well. And you will get help from Wisconsin, in ways you will never know. 

no way that convention happens

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8 minutes ago, WisconsinFan said:

 I wish you well. And you will get help from Wisconsin, in ways you will never know. 

Hey now, stop being vague about your compassion.  Now is the time for YOU to really step up and take concrete steps to help those people on the ship.  Come get them.  Just a few medical flights and this would be solved.  Contact Governor Evers;  surely he’ll be anxious to help you help these people.  All your friends and neighbors will want them in WI...no worries...none of them will be angry at you.

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Posted (edited)

Governor just said they are working a plan to get the US Citizens off the two ships. He said he was told at first there were no US Citizens where aboard in the beginning. 

Edited by Milwaukee Eight

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22 minutes ago, Milwaukee Eight said:

 He said he was told at first there were no US Citizens where aboard in the beginning. 

I call BS. But maybe I am just a little too skeptical.

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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, Ocean Boy said:

I call BS. But maybe I am just a little too skeptical.

My son is a Nurse at Miami Jackson in ICU. A Trauma 1 Center. They are getting very busy with COVID patients. He lost his boss Friday to the disease. They are running at 125% and really can’t handle a ship full of possible patients. 

Edited by Milwaukee Eight

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27 minutes ago, Milwaukee Eight said:

Governor just said they are working a plan to get the US Citizens off the two ships. He said he was told at first there were no US Citizens where aboard in the beginning. 

 

So, it does sound like this is gonna be the "port in multiple places" plan...if so, I'd expect them to continue up the coast after a FL drop off to set up a Canadian or European one...

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10 minutes ago, Milwaukee Eight said:

My son is a Nurse at Miami Jackson in ICU. A Trauma 1 Center. They are getting very busy with COVID patients. He lost his boss Friday to the disease. They are running at 125% and really can’t handle a ship full of possible patients. 

I am not doubting that for a second. I question that the governor was first told no Americans were aboard the ship.

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How about getting the parents of all those florida spring breaker party kids to foot the bill.  Those kids went down there spread the disease all over and then went back to their home states and spread it there as well.  If I were an employer I would demand to know where you were during the spring of 2020 before i offered you a job, no exaggeration either.

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7 minutes ago, Ocean Boy said:

I am not doubting that for a second. I question that the governor was first told no Americans were aboard the ship.

So, he said something like he was going to attempt to arrange flights for those onboard without making contact with locals. Not sure how that is going to happen. 
 

If they unloaded the entire ship, where would they go?  

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4 hours ago, scorpluvsdolphins said:

Why should FLORIDA bear the responsibility?  
Are you a Floridian?

 

They are sitting right off the coast of FLORIDA.  That’s why!  It’s what human beings should do for other human beings.  If you or your family were sick on a ship sitting off another state or Country, you would want them to let the ship dock to get you or your family to a medical facility.  That is what should happen.  

 

No one wants to get sick but that doesn’t mean you just let people die.  Yikes!

 

 

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1 hour ago, Milwaukee Eight said:

Governor just said they are working a plan to get the US Citizens off the two ships. He said he was told at first there were no US Citizens where aboard in the beginning. 

What isn’t the source for that “no US citizens” bit you paraphrased?  I have not seen a quote like that.

 

It is easy to find quote that he was told there are more foreign nationals than US citizens.  

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, pstone1 said:

 

They are sitting right off the coast of FLORIDA.  That’s why!  It’s what human beings should do for other human beings.  If you or your family were sick on a ship sitting off another state or Country, you would want them to let the ship dock to get you or your family to a medical facility.  That is what should happen.  

 

No one wants to get sick but that doesn’t mean you just let people die.  Yikes!

 

 

Yeah, they needed to disembark the ship in Chile. And they needed to be let off the ship in every single port of every single country since then.  Think of all those ports.  All those countries.  All those days!  Yet they all have said “no.”  None of them has taken even one single passenger.  Not a sick passenger in need of hospital  care.  Not a healthy citizen of their own country for repatriation. Not one anywhere.  So evidently at whole lot of countries’ answer to your post was that they are indeed willing to let them die on the ship.  

Edited by Starry Eyes

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Newleno said:

How about getting the parents of all those florida spring breaker party kids to foot the bill.  Those kids went down there spread the disease all over and then went back to their home states and spread it there as well.  If I were an employer I would demand to know where you were during the spring of 2020 before i offered you a job, no exaggeration either.

 

There are data tracking companies that have tracked all cell phone movements from Florida. There was an interesting video that showed where these specific spring breakers from Fort Lauderdale beach went in the days after departing Florida. The top spots were Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia and Tennessee. 

Edited by MADflyer

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1 minute ago, Starry Eyes said:

Yeah, they needed to disembark the ship in Chile. And they needed to be let off the ship in every single port of every single country since then.  Think of all those ports.  All those countries.  All those days!  Yet they all have said “no.”  None of them has taken even one single passenger.  Not a sick passenger in need of hospital  care.  Not a healthy citizen of their own country for repatriation. Not one anywhere.  So evidently at whole lot of countries’ answer to your post was that they are indeed willing to let them die on the ship.  

 

I am not a citizen of those Countries, nor are many on the ship.  I had hoped the US was better than that.  It’s really not OK to do something ”just because they did it”.

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, Starry Eyes said:

What isn’t the source for that “no US citizens” bit you paraphrased?  I have not seen a quote like that.

 

It is easy to find quote that he was told there are more foreign nationals than US citizens.  

It was on local news. He was asked about the two ships. He said it was his understanding that no Floridians were onboard at first. He said he was later told US Citizens and Floridians were also onboard. You will just have to trust me. I think it was WFTV Orlando. 

Edited by Milwaukee Eight

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5 minutes ago, MADflyer said:

 

There are data tracking companies that have tracked all cell phone movements from Florida. There was an interesting video that showed where these specific spring breakers from Fort Lauderdale beach they went in the days after. The top spots were Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia and Tennessee. 

 

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