A sick crew member was evacuated off the Celebrity Infinity cruise ship Saturday, one of several medical evacuations off cruise ships this week.
Royal Caribbean, which owns the ship, confirmed the evacuation. The Coast Guard, which helped with the evacuation from the ship, said the patient had COVID-19. The medical evacuation was recommended by a Coast Guard flight surgeon.
“We are working closely with our federal, state and local partners to support efforts to prevent and protect mariners and crew. No seafarer will be left untreated during this emergency to the best of our collective ability,” Coast Guard Spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Jason Neiman said in a statement.
The Celebrity Infinity is off Florida’s west coast.
On Thursday, a dead crew member was removed from the Celebrity Infinity and two more were medically evacuated from the Oasis of the Seas. Both ships are owned by Miami-based Royal Caribbean.
The Coast Guard released a memo earlier this week warning ships that the U.S. medical system could be overwhelmed by the high number of sick people still aboard cruise ships and asked ships to prepare supplied to keep ill people on board “for an indefinite period.”
The Zaandam and Rotterdam in Port Everglades and the Coral Princess in Port Miami are all keeping ill people on board in quarantine until they are well enough to travel. Those too sick for onboard medical care have been evacuated to hospitals. Fourteen people were taken off the Zaandam and Rotterdam on Thursday and five were evacuated from the Coral Princess on Saturday.
Not counting this most recent mission, the Coast Guard has helped with 31 medical evacuations since March 7.
In a Saturday press release, the Coast Guard said there are 114 cruise ships carrying 93,000 crew members in or near U.S. ports and waters. In U.S. ports and anchorages alone, there are 73 cruise ships,with 52,000 crew members aboard. Another 41 cruise ships, with 41,000 crew members, are underway and still near the United States.
“The cruise industry has an ongoing obligation for the care, safety and welfare of their seafarers,” the Coast Guard said in the release.
Miami Herald Reporter Taylor Dolven contributed to this article.