Some Canadian passengers from virus-stricken Zaandam cruise still in hospital in Florida

Two weeks after the return of the coronavirus-stricken Zaandam cruise ship, a “small quantity” of its Canadian passengers stay in hospital in Florida, in line with International Affairs Canada. It declined to offer a exact quantity. 

The passengers embody Geoffrey Vaughan’s father-in-law, who’s alone in a hospital simply exterior Fort Lauderdale, battling COVID-19.

“My father-in-law has had some tough days; he is had most likely a fairly extreme case of COVID-19,” mentioned Vaughan, who lives in Bowmanville, Ont. “Hopefully he can trip it out and proceed to get higher.”

Vaughan requested that his father-in-law’s title stay confidential, although CBC has confirmed he was on the Holland America-owned ship and is presently being handled in a Florida hospital. 

His father-in-law has been recognized with pneumonia and is presently on oxygen, mentioned Vaughan, however the household anticipates a full restoration.

He is additionally alone, as his spouse, who was travelling with him, was despatched again to Canada shortly after the ship docked. 

“We would like him residence as rapidly as doable,” mentioned Vaughan.

Vaughan mentioned his father-in-law, who additionally lives in Bowmanville, was rushed to hospital shortly after the Zaandam and its sister ship, the MS Rotterdam, arrived in Fort Lauderdale on April 2.

A complete of 247 Canadian passengers had been travelling on the Zaandam final month when the ill-fated cruise was caught up in a wave of uncertainty as world considerations over COVID-19 grew.

eight passengers useless: ‘unofficial’ checklist

On March 7, 1,243 passengers boarded the MS Zaandam to set sail on a South American cruise — simply days earlier than the World Well being Group declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

The ship was then hit with an outbreak of the virus in late March and struggled to safe an instantaneous place to dock, as nations closed their borders in a bid to cease the unfold of the sickness attributable to the novel coronavirus. 

Holland America has mentioned 4 passengers died on board the Zaandam, and a crew member died shortly after arriving in Florida.

However Florida’s Broward County medical expert Craig Mallak shared what he referred to as an “unofficial checklist” with CBC Information, compiled by one in every of his investigators, that signifies {that a} complete of eight folks from the cruise have now died. Seven of the fatalities examined constructive for COVID-19.

Holland America would not verify the up to date loss of life depend, citing privateness causes.

The MS Rotterdam joined the Zaandam on March 27 to ship medical provides and to switch over wholesome passengers. (Submitted by Margaret Tilley)

Most passengers had been in a position to return residence inside days after the Zaandam and the Rotterdam docked at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale on April 2. 

Nonetheless, 10 critically in poor health passengers had been rushed to a neighborhood hospital for rapid care and one other 45 who had been unwell remained on board till they had been cleared for journey.

Vaughan mentioned his father-in-law fell in poor health shortly after he and his spouse had been transferred to the Rotterdam, together with many different passengers, in the course of the closing days of the cruise, a transfer geared toward lightening the burden for the unique crew.

On account of declining well being, his father-in-law was transferred to the hospital a pair days after docking, whereas his spouse remained on the ship.

“It was fairly heart-wrenching as a result of … they needed to be separated,” mentioned Vaughan.

How will he get residence?

Just a few days later, Holland America organized a chartered flight residence for his 70-year-old mother-in-law and different remaining passengers. She was distraught over having to depart, Vaughan mentioned, however was given no selection as Florida needed the passengers to return residence as quickly as doable.

“You possibly can think about the atmosphere of my mother-in-law having to depart her partner behind overseas,” he mentioned.

The household’s principal concern now’s how his father-in-law will get residence as soon as he recovers and is launched from the hospital. 

“The query is that if he’ll have the ability to fly residence or not, [or] if he will be stranded in a Florida resort beneath quarantine with nobody to take care of him,” mentioned Vaughan, noting that his father-in-law’s insurance coverage ought to cowl any medical prices. 

Holland America advised CBC Information it is going to proceed to take care of its sick former passengers and make preparations for them to return residence. 

David Kirkham and spouse, Norma, are proven throughout their cruise on the Zaandam earlier than folks began falling in poor health.  (Submitted by Norma Kirkham)

A lot of the Zaandam’s Canadian passengers flew residence on April three and are actually nearing the tip of their necessary two-week self-isolation after getting back from worldwide journey.

David Kirkham, of Victoria, who had travelled on the Zaandam along with his spouse, mentioned the federal authorities has organized for a nurse to name the couple twice a day to verify in.

“They ask the identical questions — it is form of a listing of all of the signs: ‘Do you’ve gotten fever? Do you’ve gotten sweating?'” he mentioned. “It is nice that they do the checks.”

Kirkham mentioned he is relieved to lastly be residence and in good well being after the almost month-long ordeal. “We closed the ebook. That was our closing chapter and now we’re simply going to maneuver on.”

Vaughan, in the meantime, continues to observe his father in-law’s well being from Canada.

“The precedence is getting him residence,” he mentioned.

International Affairs mentioned Wednesday it continues to observe 26 Canadian passengers and crew on three cruise ships nonetheless at sea. 

Whereas cruise firms suspended operations in mid-March, some ships have struggled to discover a place to dock to permit passengers to disembark and return residence.

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