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Traveling during the pandemic, CDC recommends remote gatherings

Posted at 7:16 PM, Nov 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-16 22:16:53-05

There's no question that holiday gatherings will look different this year. Michelle Corson, public relations officer for Kern County Public Health says, "Doing the most remote gathering that you can to protect those vulnerable family members is something for us all to really think about."

But if you don't plan to do Thanksgiving over Zoom, there are a few things to keep in mind when traveling.

"The Centers for Disease Control is not currently advising you to get tested prior to travel," Corson said.

However, the CDC does state on their website that, "Travel increases the chance of getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others."

Airports and bus stations are places that travelers can be exposed to the virus in the air and on surfaces, according to the CDC website. The CDC also advises not to travel if you are sick or have been around someone with COVID-19 for the last 14 days and don't travel with someone who is sick.

The CDC also recommends travelers get a flu shot, stay at least 6 feet apart from anyone who is not in your household, wash hands often, and pack hand sanitizer. Travelers should also check state travel restrictions ​and look at the state county health department websites to stay current on travel requirements. Especially because the guidance could change on a daily basis.

Take Hawaii for example. According to their state website, all travelers ages, 5 and older will be required to take a COVID-19 test from a specific certified lab, no more than 72 hours before the passenger's flight to bypass the State of Hawaii’s 14-day mandatory quarantine. Passengers 18 and older will also have to create an online account and register with the State of Hawaii's Safe Travels Hawaii program. Travelers must upload their test results and receive a QR code that determines entry status into the state.

The CDC also strongly recommends everyone wear a mask on public transportation. For those traveling by air, the CDC website states, "Most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes. However, social distancing is difficult on crowded flights, and sitting within 6 feet of others, sometimes for hours, may increase your risk of getting COVID-19."

If you have a child that is coming back from school it's important to do research ahead of time.

"You should first see what those colleges and university protocols are because that's going to really vary," said Corson. She also says families should have open conversations to find out if your child is sick or has been around anyone that has tested positive. Also, be aware that if you do get a negative test result. The CDC advises that you should continue to protect yourself since "The test result only means that you did not have COVID-19 at the time of testing."

For anyone coming to California the state recommends, "Incoming travelers from out of state should self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival before mixing indoors with others," according to the state's website.

But whether you are planning to travel, have symptoms, or just want to get tested for peace of mind Corson says that she highly encourages residents to get tested regularly.

"When it comes to testing in general, we want our residents to get tested on a frequent basis because we know there are asymptomatic individuals walking around that are spreading COVID-19 and not even knowing it. So, absolutely we encourage everyone to continue to utilize the free testing that's available here in kern County," said Corson.