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“I said go ahead and bring them in because we can’t let those people and American citizens perish at sea,” he said. “So, they came in. Unfortunately, on the way in, two of those patients died on the way to port. One of them passed away about the day after.”
“But, you know, the good news is that the majority of the passengers are off now. It came in with about…over a thousand passengers and we are down to about 250,” he remarked. “We expect another 180 to go home today.”
“And, we have told Princess Lines they have to make accommodations for the final 80 or so passengers and it’s up to them to make those accommodations and meet the CDC guidelines and get those folks home,” Gimenez added.
Gimenez told Doocy that the ship — which set sail on March 13 — was supposed to return to dock in South America, but were denied entry, which is why they sought help from the United States.
According to Gimenez, it was also supposed to return to Fort Lauderdale.
“But, Fort Lauderdale has had some issues of its own with some of its cruises. So, that’s why — eventually — it ended up in Miami. And, the reason it ended up in Miami is because, again, there were some people dying on that ship,” he said. “And, we need to do everything in our power to save lives and that’s what we [did].”
“Again, I’m a firefighter at heart and we made sure that it wasn’t going to be a burden on our system. We have [the] capacity here in Miami-Dade. We have plenty of…hospital rooms and we have ventilators. But, I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t a burden on our system, and it isn’t,” he told Doocy.
“It was a humanitarian effort.” Gimenez said, “and, so far, I think, you know, we have saved some lives here because we brought it in.”