CDC Says People Should Avoid Cruise Ships “Regardless of Immunization Status” | Florida News | Tampa


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PHOTO VIA CARNIVAL CRUISE / FACEBOOK

In a potentially disturbing message for the Florida cruise ship industry, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday that people should avoid cruise travel “regardless of vaccination status” due to the spread of COVID- 19.

The health agency said outbreaks have been reported aboard cruise ships as the highly contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus has helped increase infections.

“Even fully vaccinated travelers can be at risk of contracting and spreading variants of COVID-19,” the agency said on its website. “The virus that causes COVID-19 is easily spread between nearby people on ships, and the risk of contracting COVID-19 on cruise ships is very high, even if you are fully vaccinated and have received a dose. COVID-19 vaccine booster. ”

The agency said people traveling on cruise ships should make sure they are fully vaccinated and get tested for COVID-19 before and after their trips.

The CDC’s advice came after months of efforts by Governor Ron DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody to fight federal COVID-19 restrictions on the cruise industry and to prevent requirements that cruise passengers present proof of vaccination.

A federal judge in Tampa sided with the state in June and issued a preliminary injunction against the CDC’s restrictions on the industry, while a federal judge in Miami in August supported Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings in a challenge to Florida’s ban on so-called “vaccine passports”. The vaccination passport law prevented companies from requiring customers to present proof of vaccination, although the federal judge’s ruling only applied to Norwegian.

The appeals in these two cases are pending before the 11th United States Court of Appeals.

The CDC’s notice on Thursday came as Florida and other states saw a massive increase in COVID-19 cases. Meanwhile, Orange County warned Thursday that the number of cases could rise after social gatherings around Christmas.

Orange County, which is participating in a program that assesses wastewater for traces of COVID-19, said it received data Wednesday showing “historic increases in COVID-19 remains in service areas of county sewage “.

“This data helps predict infections four to 10 days before we see changes in our community’s workload, allowing county leaders and health professionals to adjust public health resources accordingly,” said Ed Torres, director of Orange County Utilities, said in a prepared statement. “Because symptomatic and asymptomatic carriers of the virus throw away leftovers in their waste, this data provides an accurate picture of how the virus is spreading in our community, regardless of how many people are tested. ”

Florida hospitals have also seen a steady increase this week in the number of hospital patients with COVID-19, according to data released by the US Department of Health and Human Services.

The federal agency’s website reported Thursday that 4,433 hospital patients in Florida had COVID-19. That was up from 3,836 hospitalized patients with COVID-19 on Wednesday, 3,148 on Tuesday and 2,406 on Monday.

While the number of hospitalizations has increased, it remains well below totals this summer, when the delta variant of the coronavirus has spread across the state. For example, Florida had 15,177 hospital patients with COVID-19 on September 1, according to federal data.

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