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CDC to unveil cruise ship color coded guidance to determine COVID-19 threat

CDC to unveil cruise ship color coded guidance to determine COVID-19 threat

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control is working on a new red, yellow and green system for easily identifying cruise ships with Coronavirus.

The Miami Herald is reporting the CDC has been working on the new system for months with the cruise lines on a system to detect, prevent and mitigate the spread of the coronavirus on cruise ships.

The ships will be graded on a color-coded system: green for no confirmed cases of COVID-19 or COVID-like illness for 28 days, yellow for one or more COVID-like illness cases pending confirmation, red for one or more cases of confirmed COVID-19 or COVID-like illness within the past 28 days. If the ship is designated green, commercial transportation for crew repatriation is allowed.

The CDC has already issued a color-coded system for use during the period of the agency's No Sail Order.

Green Ship Criteria

  • No confirmed cases of COVID-19 or COVID-like illness for 28 days, as determined by a qualified medical professional.
  • If the ship received ship-to-ship transfers within the past 28 days, crew must have come from a ship that had no confirmed COVID-19 or COVID-like illness within the 28 days before the transfer occurred.
  • If land-based crew embarked, they were immediately quarantined for 14 days upon embarking the ship.

Yellow Ship Criteria

  • Previously designated Green, but now has 1 or more COVID-like illness cases pending COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.
    • If PCR positive, status changes to Red (must sign attestation again after meeting criteria again)
    • If PCR negative, status goes back to Green
    • If crew with COVID-like illness are not tested by PCR or if results are not available within 1 week of the case being reported, status changes to Red.
  • If the ship received ship-to-ship transfers within the past 28 days, crew must have come from a ship that had no confirmed COVID-19 or COVID-like illness within the 28 days before the transfer occurred. If not, status changes to Red.
  • If land-based crew embarked, they were immediately quarantined for 14 days upon embarking the ship. If not, status changes to Red.

Red Ship Criteria

  • One or more cases of confirmed COVID-19 or COVID-like Illness within the past 28 days, or
  • Ship received ship-to-ship transfers from a ship that had confirmed COVID-19 or COVID-like illness within the 28 days before the transfer occurred, or
  • If land-based crew embarked, they were not immediately quarantined for 14 days upon embarking the ship, or
  • During the past 28 days, the ship missed one or more weekly submission of the EDC form.

In addition to the system, the CDC has recommendations for reducing the spread of COVID-19 onboard during a period of suspended operations:

  • Relocate all crew to single-occupancy cabins with private bathrooms
  • Instruct crew members to remain in cabins as much as possible during non-working hours
  • Cancel all face-to-face employee meetings, group events (such as employee trainings), or social gatherings
  • Close all crew bars, gyms, or other group settings
  • Implement social distancing of crew members when working or moving through the ship (maintaining at least 6 feet [2 meters] from others)
  • Instruct crew members to wear a cloth face covering when outside of individual cabins
  • Modify meal service to facilitate social distancing (e.g., reconfigure dining room seating, stagger mealtimes, encourage in-cabin dining)
  • Eliminate self-serve dining options at all crew and officer messes
  • Discourage handshaking – encourage the use of non-contact methods of greeting
  • Promote respiratory and hand hygiene and cough etiquette
  • Place hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol) in multiple locations and in sufficient quantities to encourage hand hygiene
  • Ensure handwashing facilities are well-stocked with soap and paper towels
  • Place posters that encourage hand hygiene to help stop the spread in high-trafficked areas

The CDC will publish the new system "in the coming week" in addition to a scorecard for each ship operating in U.S. waters that reflects its level of infection.