Two Holland America Line cruise ships with dozens of sick passengers on board are approaching Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale.
The Zaandam and the Rotterdam are scheduled to dock late Thursday afternoon
In a blog post, Holland America Line said:
“We remain fully engaged with the Broward Unified Command and other governmental and embassy authorities to resolve this humanitarian situation and get the nearly 1,200 well guests home immediately who are fit for travel per guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”
The cruise line said that guests who are healthy for travel per the CDC guidelines will transfer directly from the ships to flights for travel home, with the majority of those passengers being on charter flights.
For additional caution, those guests will be transported in coaches that will be sanitized with limited person-to-person contact. They will also be given masks.
Guests have not left the ship since March 14, and have been self-isolating in their staterooms since March 22.
Holland America Line said about 45 guests who still show symptoms of mild illness and are not yet ready to travel will continue to isolate on board the ship until they fully recover.
The company added that less than 10 people need immediate critical care, and Holland America has obtain approval from a local health partner to treat those passengers.
Since March 22, 97 guests (83 on Zaandam and 14 on Rotterdam) and 136 crew members on Zaandam have shown flu-like symptoms.
There are 808 guests and 583 crew members on the Rotterdam, while the Zaandam has 442 guests and 603 crew members.
There are 52 Florida residents on the ships, and four children under age 12.
At least two people have died on the ships from the coronavirus, while another nine have tested positive.
Broward County has the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases in the state with 1,346. In addition, 145 people have been hospitalized because of the virus in the county, and 17 have died.