Carnival Corp. has offered use of its ships as temporary hospitals for non-coronavirus patients to free up space at land-based hospitals to treat patients with Covid-19. 

President Trump announced at a press conference on Thursday that he had spoken with Carnival Corp. chairman Micky Arison on Thursday morning. “He’s going to make ships available,” he said.  

The president has already ordered that two Navy hospital ships be deployed to areas hit hard by coronavirus. The USNS Comfort will head to New York Harbor and the USNS New York will be dispatched to a location on the West Coast. If needed, the Carnival ships could supplement those efforts. 

“In addition to the big medical ships that you have coming, if we should need ships with lots of rooms, they will be docked at New York and Los Angeles and San Francisco, different places, so I want to thank Micky Arison. That’s Carnival Cruise Line,” the president said. 

In a statement shortly afterward, Carnival Corp. said that select ships from its many brands -- including Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and P&O Cruises Australia -- would be made available to help with a possible shortage of land-based hospital beds. 

“As part of the offer, interested parties will be asked to cover only the essential costs of the ship’s operations while in port,” the company said. 

“If needed, cruise ships are capable of being quickly provisioned to serve as hospitals with up to 1,000 hospital rooms that can treat patients suffering from less critical, non-Covid-19 conditions,” Carnival Corp. said. 

Temporary cruise ship hospital rooms can be quickly converted to accommodate remote patient-monitoring devices over the ship’s high-speed WiFi network, the company said. The ships would be capable of providing cardiac, respiratory, oxygen saturation, and video-monitoring capabilities. Rooms have bathrooms, private balconies and isolation capabilities if needed.

The company said the ships would be able to provide up to seven intensive care units in their onboard medical centers with central cardiac monitoring, ventilators and other medical devices.

Carnival said various decks could house multiple medical functions.

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