Carnival offers cruise ships as floating hospitals

The company that owns Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, and Princess Cruises is offering local governments use of some of its ships as temporary hospitals to help address the escalating impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

With the continued spread of COVID-19 expected to swamp traditional healthcare facilities, including a possible shortage of hospital beds, Carnival Corporation is calling on governments and health authorities to consider using cruise ships as temporary healthcare facilities to treat non-COVID-19 patients, freeing up additional space and expanding capacity in land-based hospitals to treat cases of COVID-19.

As part of the offer, interested parties will be asked to cover only the essential costs of the ship's operations while in port.

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The company says its cruise ships are capable of being quickly provisioned to serve as hospitals with up to 1,000 hospital rooms that can treat patients suffering from less critical, non-COVID-19 conditions.

They say the temporary cruise ship hospital rooms can be quickly converted to install and connect remote patient monitoring devices over the ship's high-speed network – providing cardiac, respiratory, oxygen saturation and video monitoring capabilities.

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The company says the ships could provide up to seven intensive care units (ICUs) in the ship's medical center equipped with central cardiac monitoring, ventilators and other key medical devices and capabilities.

The temporary hospital cruise ships would be berthed at a pier near the community in need and operated by the ship's crew, with all maritime operations, food, and beverage, and cleaning services provided by crew members on the ship.

Medical services would be provided by the government.

Much of the cruise industry has been shut down due to the coronavirus outbreak.  Most U.S. cruises have been canceled for at least a month.


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