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CDC recommends you do not travel for spring break to limit COVID spread

A traveler passes through security screening at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Nov. 29, 2020 in SeaTac, Washington. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

With spring break just around the corner, and as cases in the United States seem to be on a downward — or at least steady — trend for the time being, more people may be turning their attention to travel. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend travel at this time.

“Travel increases your chance of spreading and getting COVID-19,” the CDC warns. “Delay travel and stay home to protect yourself and others from COVID-19, even if you are vaccinated.”

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KIRO 7 TV was at SeaTac Airport this past weekend, where they observed that crowds were starting to build once again. TSA checkpoint travel numbers back up that rise, with 1,344,128 travelers on Sunday, March 14, compared to 1,485,553 the same day last year, and 2,274,658 in 2019.

The more than 1.3 million travelers seen on both Friday and Sunday of this past weekend marks the highest traveler throughput recorded by TSA since this time last year.

For those who must travel, the CDC does include a list of steps to protect yourself and others, including getting fully vaccinated for COVID-19 if you are eligible, getting tested before your trip, wearing a mask when in public, avoiding crowds, and getting tested again 3-5 days after your trip. The CDC suggests staying home and self-quarantining for a full week after travel, even if your test is negative. If you don’t get tested, the CDC says to stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.

All air passengers coming to the United States, including U.S. citizens, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before flying to the country.

Masks are required on planes, buses, trains, and public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States, as well as in airports and other transportation hubs or stations.

The CDC also has a list of questions to ask yourself before you travel, including if you or anyone you’re traveling with is at increased risk for severe illness, if hospitals where you’re coming from or visiting are overwhelmed, and if your destination has any particular requirements for travelers.

Vaccines are not required for travel at this time, though a negative COVID-19 could be required for arrival to your location, including if you’re visiting Hawaii or Alaska. Check here to find out if your destination requires quarantine or testing.

Gov. Inslee issued a travel advisory for Washington state, recommending a 14-day quarantine for interstate and international travel.

President Biden expressed last week that there is hope Americans will be able to safely gather for July 4, as long as everyone continues to follow COVID safety measures and receive vaccines. Local health official Dr. Jeff Duchin said reaching that goal will depend on us “being smart and being lucky.”

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“If we do not do things that accelerate the pace of the epidemic, if we continue to be smart about COVID-19 prevention and suppress transmission, and we don’t let the new variants gain a foothold, and at the same time, we continue to vaccinate as many people as possible, I believe that by July 4 it is quite possible that we will have reached that equilibrium where we have large numbers of vaccinated Americans and we have low numbers of COVID-19,” Duchin said.

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