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CDC investigating 86 cruise ships with reported COVID-19 cases

The CDC launches an investigation when .10 percent or more of passengers test positive for the virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a list of operating cruise lines' reported COVID-19 cases, including 86 cruise ships under investigation, with more being monitored.

The CDC said while cruises pose a risk of COVID-19 transmission, it's committed to working with cruise lines, workers and passengers to ensure that everyone is safe on board.

Cruise ships in the U.S., with the exception of Florida-operating ships, are required to comply with the CDC's Framework for Conditional Sailing Order even when outside of U.S. waters.

Tuesday, the CDC released a list of ships planning to operate in the U.S. and their color status as it meets CSO and accompanying measures.

The color-coding status is "determined using surveillance data from the previous 7 days—regardless of voyage dates—and CDC investigation findings."

Cruises can find themselves in five color categories.

  • Green – No cases
  • Orange – Reported cases but falls below the threshold for investigation
  • Yellow – Reported cases meet the threshold for CDC investigation
  • Red – Reported cases are at or above the threshold for investigation
  • Gray – Not reviewed or confirmed cruise ship's health and safety protocols

"When a cruise ship operating under the CSO notifies CDC of suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 on board, CDC determines whether an investigation is needed, based on a predetermined investigation threshold," the CDC reports. "This investigation threshold gives CDC and the cruise industry the ability to work closely together to protect the health and safety of those onboard and in communities."

Among the 86 cruises in yellow status under investigation, Carnival operates 32, Walt Disney operates four, Royal Caribbean operates 25 and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings operates 16.

The CDC launches an investigation when .10 percent or more of passengers test positive for the virus under the yellow code. This means if there are 6,500 passengers on board, the CDC will launch an investigation if there are seven or more cases among passengers occurring during the seven days.

There are three cruise ships listed as monitored. This means the ship has reported cases of COVID-19 but is below the threshold for CDC investigation.

The long list of investigations comes as three Florida cruise ships have reported COVID-19 outbreaks in the last couple of weeks.

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