CDC investigating Odyssey of the Seas, cruise ship with 55 COVID cases





The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating Royal Caribbean’s Odyssey of the Seas ship as it continues to sail with more than 50 cases of COVID onboard.


«CDC is investigating the recent increase in COVID-19 cases identified on Royal Caribbean International’s (RCI) Odyssey of the Seas,» CDC spokesperson David Daigle told USA TODAY Thursday. «All cases appear to be mild or asymptomatic. Additionally, there have been no COVID-19 related hospitalizations, medical evacuations, ventilator use, or deaths from this ship.»

Fifty-five passengers and crew members tested positive for COVID-19 on Royal Caribbean’s Odyssey of the Seas cruise ship, which departed Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Saturday for an eight-night Caribbean trip, a spokesperson for Royal Caribbean told USA TODAY Wednesday.

The health agency is working closely with Royal Caribbean and will «consider multiple factors» before marking the ship as «Red» status at which point it would be required to return to port.


As of Thursday afternoon, Odyssey of the Seas was classified as «Yellow» status meaning the «CDC has investigated and ship remains under observation.»


Odyssey of the Seas is currently sailing in the Caribbean and is due to return to Fort Lauderdale on Sunday.


The ship, which returned briefly to port on Sunday to disembark a passenger with COVID-19, is carrying 3,587 passengers and 1,599 crew.  With vaccinations required among all crew members and guests 12 and older, 95% of those on board were fully vaccinated, according to Royal Caribbean.

«During routine weekly testing of our fully vaccinated crew members, there were test results that came back positive for COVID-19,» the company said in a statement shared by spokesperson Lyan Sierra-Caro late Tuesday night. «Close contacts were quickly identified, and they each immediately went into quarantine.»


The passengers and crew who tested positive and their close contacts are quarantining, according to Royal Caribbean. Those who tested positive  are either mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic and being monitored by an on-board medical team.  

Royal Caribbean announced Wednesday that the cruise will not stop in Curacao or Aruba as planned.

«The decision was made together with the islands and out of an abundance of caution due to the current trend of cases in the destination communities and having COVID-19 positive cases on board … representing 1.1% of the onboard community,» according to a statement shared by Sierra-Caro.

►After disembarking, she tested positive: A cruise line didn’t provide a COVID test to a symptomatic passenger


►Royal Caribbean’s newest ship: Odyssey of the Seas, makes brief return to port due to COVID

Weekly testing of crew members is one of the protocols on Royal Caribbean’s ships, part of a «multilayered set of comprehensive health and safety measures,» the company said. Other protocols include enhanced cleaning, a vaccine requirement for passengers and crew, and the use of masks, among others.

«In an abundance of…


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