CDC lowers risk rating on cruise travel | Loop Cayman Islands

The content originally appeared on: Cayman Compass

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The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) lowered the Travel Health Notice (THN) risk rating for Cruise travel to a Level 2 meaning the chances of getting COVID-19 on a cruise is now “Moderate.” The change in risk level came into effect on March 14, exactly one week before the Cayman Islands opened to phase one of cruise tourism, after being closed for two years.

Cruise travel was rated a Level 4 risk during the omicron surge before moving to Level 3 in mid-February.

CDC says that it has a separate COVID-19 THN for cruise ships because the risk of disease transmission on cruise ships is different from that of shoreside travel and entertainment settings (such as restaurants, bars, and theme parks). Specifically, cruise ships are congregate residential settings with high risk of COVID-19 transmission among travelers (passengers and crew).

CDC raises the THN level for cruise ship travel when the cumulative case count meets either the primary or secondary THN threshold for a higher level and remains at that level for 7 consecutive days. CDC lowers the THN level for cruise ship travel when the cumulative COVID-19 case count among crew members meets the THN threshold for a lower level and remains at that level for 14 consecutive days.

The total number of vaccinated crew on ships and vaccine effectiveness against the circulating variant are considered when determining if the THN level can be lowered before 14 days. Additional information such as new variants of concern, vaccination rates, severity of disease (such as hospitalizations, medical evacuations, and deaths for crew or passengers) may be considered when determining a THN level, especially when inconsistencies in available information or other concerns arise. CDC works with the cruise industry and public health authorities to gather additional data as appropriate.

CDC advises that in the case of a THN level 2 that cruise ship passengers are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines before cruise ship travel.

CDC further advises:

For travelers booking cruise travel now, be aware that the level may change as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves and may be different by the time of your cruise. If you are not up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, avoid cruise ship travel. If you have questions or concerns, talk to your doctor. The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads easily between people in close quarters on board ships, and the chance of getting COVID-19 on cruise ships is moderate, even if you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines. Outbreaks of COVID-19 have been reported on cruise ships. Check your cruise ship’s color code and vaccination status classification before traveling. Get a COVID-19 viral test as close to time of cruise departure as possible (no more than 3 days) before you travel. See more information about testing before boarding a ship participating in CDC’s COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships. During your cruise, wear a well-fitting mask to keep your nose and mouth covered when indoors (outside of your cabin) or in crowded outdoor settings. While CDC is exercising its enforcement discretion under CDC’s Mask Order to not require that persons wear a mask under certain circumstances on cruise ships participating in CDC’s COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships, individual cruise lines may require travelers (passengers and crew) to wear masks on board the ship. Get tested 3-5 days after your cruise, regardless of your COVID-19 vaccination status. Isolate if your test is positive or you develop COVID-19 symptoms. Along with testing, if you are not up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines, you should self-quarantine for a full 5 days after cruise travel. All travelers should follow additional recommendations before, during, and after travel.

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