COVID-19 and traveling: What you need to know

December 11, 2020
By Olivia Cameron

Submission Note: The COVID-19 situation remains fluid. This article reflects information known at the time it was submitted to The Boca Beacon.
BY LAUREN HANA MD, BGHC- The U.S. Centers for Disease & Prevention (CDC) recently released new guidance on domestic travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. While the air quality on a commercial airliner is quite high, with the air volume in the cabin being completely refreshed every two to four minutes, travel to and from the airport and time spent within the airport increases the chance of spreading and getting COVID-19. 
Here are the current basics for travels of any kind.
Before you travel
• Do not travel if you are ill or with someone who is sick.
• Do not travel if you were exposed to COVID-19 within 14 days of travel.
• Consider getting tested with a viral test 1-3 days before your trip. 
• Find out the activity level of COVID-19 at your destination as well as all planned travel stops along the way. You can access the latest COVID-19 statistics on Florida Department of Health’s website.
• Plan to wear a mask and carry with you – and use – hand sanitizer. 
When you travel
• Keep in mind that travel of any type increases the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19.
• Wear a mask over your nose and mouth when in public facilities.
• Where possible, avoid close contact, adhering to the six-foot distancing recommendation.
• Avoid unnecessary touches and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
• Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol.
After you travel
• Talk to your Clinic physician about your options.
• Consider getting tested with a viral test three to five days after your trip and reduce non-essential activities for a full seven days after travel, even if your test is negative.
• If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected. 
  If you don’t get tested, consider reducing non-essential activities for 10 days.
• Also, to protect others from getting COVID-19, take these actions for 14 days after you return from travel:
• Stay at least six feet from anyone who did not travel with you, particularly in crowded areas. It’s important to do this everywhere — both indoors and outdoors.
• Wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth covered when you are in shared spaces outside of your home.
• If there are people in your household who did not travel with you, wear a mask and ask everyone in the household to wear masks in shared spaces inside your home.
• Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
• Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness.
• Watch yourself for symptoms of COVID-19 and take your temperature if you feel sick.
Along with wearing a mask, social distancing and frequent hand washing, postponing travel and staying home remains the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Full information on “Domestic Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic” is available on the CDC’s website.