With limited medical capacity at Port of Miami, it has been decided to no longer accept medevacs from cruise ships.
PortMiami Medical Capacity Limited
It’s a very worrying time around the world and the coronavirus continues to impact the cruise industry. This also includes major cruise ports such as PortMiami in Florida, which is the cruise capital of the world.
While cruise lines suspend operation over 30 days, the Port of Miami is at maximum capacity with docked vessels. The port is also handling ships which are just anchored off the coast. With thousands of crew members still on these ships and limited medical capacity at the port, it has now been decided not to allow any further medevacs from passenger vessels.
This is so the medical facilities at the port can deal with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, which is hitting the state hard. The U.S. Coast Guard has stated that “Due to the outbreak of respiratory illness caused by COVID-19 and its impact on mariners and vessel operations, an increased number of foreign passenger vessels have required medical evacuations of both stable and critically-ill persons, including those with influenza-like illness (ILI) such as COVID-19.”
You can read the full information bulletin below:
If any crew members become ill onboard a vessel the Coast Guard won’t be taking them ashore for further medical treatment. Instead, the vessels will have to provide care themselves and they are being asked to increase their medical capacity onboard, such as extra staff and medical equipment, to deal with any further health issues.
However, an urgent medevac could be considered once cruise ships have undergone a consultation with the Coast Guard flight surgeon who will determine “medical needs for each concerned crew member.” The cruise lines will have to arrange their own commercial transportation ashore and have to confirm medical services on land.
With crew members getting generally ill and some even coming down with symptoms of COVID-19, the cruise lines will have to come up with procedures for dealing with it themselves especially as the situation in Florida and nearby states deal with higher numbers of infections.
According to Johns Hopkins University, Florida currently has more than 7,700 confirmed cases of the virus and more than 100 deaths in the state related to the disease. The numbers will undoubtedly continue to go up and medical facilities will have to increase capacity to deal with it, and different options are being considered, including temporary hospital setups and converting hotels to quarantine facilities.