The holidays are just around the corner and many of you may be planning a trip to spend time with loved ones. However, the coronavirus pandemic is growing dramatically in the United States - more than 10 million people have now been infected and more than 237,000 have died as case numbers reach alarming new records across the country. If you are planning to travel, below is some information to consider before you go, based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
According to the CDC, travel increases the chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others. Don’t travel if you are sick or have been around someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days. But if your travel plans are still on, consider these factors:
- Is COVID-19 spreading where you’re going? You can get infected while traveling.
- Will you or those you are traveling with be within 6 feet of others during or after your trip? This increases your chances of getting infected and infecting others.
- Are you or those you are traveling with more likely to get very ill from COVID-19?
- Do you live with someone who is more likely to get very ill from COVID-19?
IF YOU TRAVEL
- Wear a mask in public settings, like on public and mass transportation, at events and gatherings, and anywhere you will be around other people.
- Avoid close contact by staying at least 6 feet apart (about 2 arm lengths) from anyone who is not from your household.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
- Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
- Avoid touching your face mask, eyes, nose, and mouth.
STAYING WITH LOVED ONES
Going home for the holidays may mean staying overnight at someone’s residence. Consider whether you, someone you live with, or anyone you plan to visit with is at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, to determine whether to stay with them or stay elsewhere. If you are staying with loved ones, or hosting overnight guests, here are some safety steps:
- Visitors should launder clothing and mask and stow luggage away from common areas upon arrival.
- Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially upon arrival.
- Wear masks while inside the house. Masks may be removed for eating, drinking, and sleeping, but individuals from different households should stay at least 6 feet away from each other at all times.
- Open windows and doors or place central air and heating on continuous circulation to improve air circulation.
- Do not let pets interact with people outside the household.
- Monitor hosts and guests for symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath.
- Have a plan for what to do if someone becomes sick.
WHAT TO DO IF EXPOSED TO VIRUS DURING HOLIDAY GATHERING
If you are exposed to COVID-19 at a holiday gathering, while traveling, or at any time, quarantine yourself to protect others by doing the following:
- Stay home for 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19.
- Stay away from others, especially people who are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- Watch for fever (100.4◦F or higher), cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19
- Consider getting tested for COVID-19. Even if you test negative for COVID-19 or feel healthy, you should still stay home (quarantine) for 14 because symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus, and some infected people never have symptoms but are still contagious.
- Do not travel until 14 days after your last possible exposure.