As more and more foreign passenger vessels require medical evacuations for people with flu-like symptoms, the US Coast Guard's strained local medical resources are feeling the pressure.
According to a Marine Safety Information Bulletin issued by the US Coast Guard and obtained by CNN, the increased demand “is leading to the establishment of improvised field hospitals.”
“Medical facilities in the Port of Miami, for example are no longer accepting medevac patients due to limited hospital capacity and it is expected that neighboring counties will follow suit,” the bulletin warned.
The Zaandam cruise ship, which is headed to Florida with dozens of people with flu-like symptoms -- and at least eight people who tested positive for Covid-19 -- is flagged in the Netherlands. It is requesting to dock at Port Everglades. There are 305 US citizens on board, including 49 Floridians.
Foreign-flagged vessels that sit beyond US territorial seas “should seek flag state support prior to seeking support from the limited facilities in the U.S,” the bulletin said.
The bulletin goes on to say that an evacuee “has better access to comfortable surroundings and medical staff on board the foreign passenger vessel where care is already being provided.”
“This is necessary as shore-side medical facilities may reach full capacity and lose the ability to accept and effectively treat additional critically-ill patients,” the bulletin said.