GALVESTON

Cases of COVID-19 have been reported on nearly every cruise ship operating in the United States. Some cruises in Florida have been canceled because of spikes in cases, including one ship that won’t sail again until early March.

John Wayne Ferguson: 409-683-5226; john.ferguson@galvnews.com or on Twitter

@johnwferguson.

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(29) comments

Walter Dannenmaier

Nothing says "good, honest government" like hiding information on a topic of such interest to the public. Perhaps the Daily News could verify that the Galveston County Health authorities are paid by Galveston County? Another interesting question would be "why is the data now encrypted?".

James Lippert

Sounds like a ill-conceived action by the Health District. The Public Information Act promotes transparency for the benefit of the public, It can be expected that a scathing Attorney General Opinion against the Health District's action is forthcoming.

Charlotte O'rourke

It’s very disappointIng that US ports claim they don’t have covid numbers while foreign ports obviously do have access if they are blocking ship calls due to number of covid cases on board.

Mary Branum

The "one ship" that won't sail until March is the Vision of the Seas which has been used as a crew quarantine ship. Other ships are utilized to transport crew to the "quarantine" ships.

No other entity has the strict requirements regarding vaccinations as the cruise industry. One must provide proof of a negative test within 48 hours of sailing,

Flying, shopping, restaurants, entertainment venues - no proof required.

Numbers are tossed around but never state percentages related to population; less than 2% affected.

We can live in fear of numbers or move on and enjoy life by taking care of ourselves.

Paula Flinn

Glossing over the cruising industry here and ignoring the hiding of information by the Health Dept. would make anyone suspicious. People who have deficient immune systems like to travel, too. No one wants to be in that 2%.

Airplanes are in the sky for a few hours and you can wear a mask for that long. One is stuck on a CoVid infected cruise ship for days. It’s not called living in fear. It’s called being cautious. Anyone can see the difference.

Bailey Jones

Airplanes have HEPA air filters, also, you get clean, filtered air delivered right to your face.

Carlos Ponce

It's the "4WDKING Rechargeable Electrical Air Purifying, Reusable Portable Air Purifier with HEPA Filter for Sleeping Outdoor Sports Housework" available at Amazon for $49.99.

Carlos Ponce

Bailey, there's a personal use HEPA filter. Of course, wearing it makes you look and sound like Darth Vader.

Jim Forsythe

When I was working at Amoco and Bp, we used personal HEPA face mask. They did not make you look and sound like Darth Vader.

Bailey Jones

This editorial seems a little disingenuous. Wasn't it just last week that the GCDN was excoriating the CDC for "singling out" the cruise industry? Why is the GCDN singling out the cruise industry for COVID info now? Are the tourists exiting these floating Petri dishes any more of a threat than the thousands of Mardi Gras celebrants that are about to descend on the island? Or the thousands of Spring Break celebrants that will arrive after that?

lauraelder Staff
Laura Elder

There's no contradiction here. The point is those records were compiled at taxpayer expense, are maintained at taxpayer expense and belong to the public. We still believe the CDC shouldn't single out the cruise industry.

Gary Scoggin

Laura, since the BOH ultimately reports to the County Commissioners, has the GDN reached out to them for their views on this?

Gary Scoggin

As someone who has a cruise booked in a month or so, this lack of transparency is worrisome. Dr. Kaiser has been very forthcoming thus far in releasing data that assisted our citizens in assessing Covid risk. I am disappointed in this change of approach.

Charlotte O'rourke

Cruise travel has been touted as the safest travel experience and it may be, but the CDC claims it’s the highest 4 risk. Why not show the numbers? Proof is in the pudding.

What I find unbelievable are that protocols were allegedly set up to protect public health and safety, but all the local authorities (health district, port, city) claim to not own the covid data or not have the data?

How can you protect the public or make adjustments to cruise terminal operations or determine safety without that knowledge?

But foreign ports are allowed access to data.

One wants cruises to continue SAFELY sailing. How is that possible without port operators and health districts analyzing data?

Keep pretending and continue to look ridiculous.

Jim Forsythe

Because of the Texas laws surrounding gambling are enforced until 9.1 miles away from land, does it not mean that Texas laws apply for cruise ships?

Since the health district had released similar reports to The Daily News in August, they set the standard for reporting to the public.

Irwin Fletcher

How does public health information belong to the AG office?

Charlotte O'rourke

According to a Washington Post article dated on January 13th:

“According to the agency, cruise ships reported 14,803 coronavirus cases between Dec. 30 and Jan. 12. That’s 95 times the number of cases reported — 155 — between Dec. 1 and 14.”

If the Post can get covid numbers from the CDC and foreign ports get the information before docking, why is our health district and port blocking numbers?

Paula Flinn

14,803 coronavirus cases in 2 weeks is an alarming number.

Carlos Ponce

And who's in charge? Oh yes, the man who said he would take care of the virus in 100 days. [rolleyes]

Jim Forsythe

And who's in charge? In this case it was Trump, and the first step was the No-Sail order.

The Conditional Sailing Order was introduced as a phased approach for cruise ships to return to operations inside the United States. It involves several steps that cruise lines need to follow and comply with before setting sail again. The order was first introduced on November 1, 2020, replacing the No-Sail order in place between March and November 2020.

Carlos Ponce

And who's in charge? Not Trump.

Jim Forsythe

Who was President between March and November 2020, Trump..

Carlos Ponce

Paula posted, "14,803 coronavirus cases in 2 weeks is an alarming number' That's in 2021, Jim, not 2020. So It's Biden's FAULT.

Gary Scoggin

Maybe, just maybe, trying to assign fault for the Covid outbreak to either President is kind of a silly debate.

Jim Forsythe

What's your point Carlos? What do you want Biden to do? DO you want him to require every citizen to be vaccinated and to be Quarantine until it passes? He could reinstate the No-Sail order that was started by Trump. Unless he would impose an order that requires Governors to take the steps necessary, he is fighting a group that does not want to protect themselves. Unless these types of steps are what you want him to impose, Covid will be with us for the near future.

The number 14, 803 reminded me of what happened the week of JULY 1, 2020: THERE have now been 14,803 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Montgomery County — a 3.6% increase of new cases in a week. Trump was in charged.

Carlos Ponce

Jim posts, "What do you want Biden to do? DO you want him to require every citizen to be vaccinated and to be Quarantine until it passes? "

NO, NO, NO. Resources must be directed at those with pre-existing conditions. They know the profile of the susceptible. Do not post some idiotic retort that EVERYONE has a pre-existing condition. That simply isn't true.

Jim Forsythe

If people refuse to use the resources offered, they cannot be helped.

Charlotte O'rourke

Paula, it was a huge jump in the number of cases over 2 weeks. None of the news articles, however, have revealed the total number of passengers so the percentage on each ship and/or of total passengers can be determined and therefore consumers are not allowed to make informed decisions. We know it is above 1% of passengers infected as that is the point cruise ships are turned away from foreign ports, but not how much above.

Hopefully, the GDN can get the data, and numbers will start declining again. But anytime government withholds information (for example, number of covid breakthrough cases) that should be public, it should be called out for the sake of democracy.

During this rise in cases, I read the Port of Galveston is still pushing for the 4th cruise terminal (hence the push for the removal of rail and road through De Monte) and signing contracts without board votes. https://www.cruiseindustrynews.com/cruise-news/26539-galveston-sets-expansion-course.html

Go figure.

Gary Scoggin

John — Is there a follow up needed on this story or is it just a one and done?

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