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Snohomish Health District Media Releases

Posted on: July 9, 2021

Tips for Traveling Safely this Summer

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 9, 2021

CONTACT:
Heather Thomas, 425.339.8688
hthomas@snohd.org

Tips for Traveling Safely this Summer

Residents encouraged to keep up precautions with variants increasing


SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – Summer vacation and the reopening of Washington is prompting many residents to hit the open road. Whether it’s exploring all that Snohomish County has to offer, or venturing a bit further, the Snohomish Health District has rounded up some tips to help you travel safely. 

For those who are unvaccinated, including people who are not two or more weeks past the final COVID vaccine, they should continue to:

  • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth in public. Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and while indoors at airports and stations. 
  • Avoid crowds and stay at least 6 feet—about 2 arm lengths—from anyone who is not traveling with you.
  • Wash hands often or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends delaying travel until you can get fully vaccinated. If you are traveling with children who cannot get vaccinated at this time, follow travel recommendations for unvaccinated people and choose the safer travel options. Some highlights from the CDC are described below.

Transportation

During car travel, making stops along the way for gas, food, or bathroom breaks can put you and your traveling companions in close contact with other people and frequently touched surfaces. If traveling in a RV, you may have to stop less often for food or bathroom breaks, but you could still be in close contact with others while staying at RV parks overnight and while getting gas and supplies.

Play it extra safe when riding in a rideshare, carpool, taxi, or limo for-hire vehicle. 

  • Avoid a vehicle where the driver or other passengers are not properly using masks covering their nose and mouth unless they show proof of being fully vaccinated. 
  • Limit the number of passengers in the vehicle to only those who need to travel with you. 
  • Avoid shared rides where multiple passengers are picked up who are not in the same household. 
  • Ask the driver to improve the ventilation in the vehicle if possible — for example, by opening the windows or setting the air ventilation/air conditioning on non-recirculation mode. 
  • Avoid contact with surfaces frequently touched by passengers or drivers, such as the door frame and handles, windows, and other vehicle parts. When such contact is unavoidable, use a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol or soap and water as soon as possible afterwards.
  • Refrain from eating or drinking in a rideshare vehicle to ensure mask use at all times. If you plan to eat or drink after exiting the vehicle, be sure to find a space at least 6 feet from people outside your household. Also wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer before removing your mask or touching your face. 

Traveling on buses and trains for any length of time can involve sitting or standing within 6 feet, which may increase your risk of getting COVID-19. If you choose to travel by bus or train, learn what you can do to protect yourself on public transportation.

Air travel requires spending time in security lines and airport terminals, which can bring you in close contact with other people and frequently touched surfaces. Most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes. However, keeping your distance is difficult on crowded flights, and sitting within 6 feet of others, sometimes for hours, may make you more likely to get COVID-19.

  • Safer
    • Short road trips with members of your household or fully vaccinated people with few stops along the way
    • If you must fly, try to take flights with the fewest stops or layovers
  • Less Safe
    • Longer trips by car or RV with many stops along the way
    • Trips by car or RV with people who are not vaccinated or not from your household
    • Flights with layovers
  • Avoid
    • Long-distance train or bus trips
    • Traveling on a cruise ship or river boat

Accommodations

Check your accommodations’ COVID-19 prevention practices before you go.

  • Safer
    • Staying in a house or cabin (for example, a vacation rental) with people from your household or fully vaccinated people
    • Visiting a fully vaccinated family member’s or friend’s home
  • Less Safe
    • Hotels or multi-unit guest lodgings with common areas (e.g., bed and breakfasts)
    • Visiting an unvaccinated family member’s or friend’s home
    • Renting or staying in a house or cabin (for example, a vacation rental) with people that are not vaccinated or not in your household
  • Avoid
    • Sharing spaces with many people or sharing bathroom facilities (for example, a dormitory-style hostel)

Camping

  • Safer
    • Camping with people who are fully vaccinated or from your household only and not sharing facilities with persons outside of your household.
  • Less Safe
    • Camping with people who are fully vaccinated or people from your household only but sharing facilities with people outside of your household.
    • Sharing tents or cabins with friends or family who are not vaccinated or in your household.
  • Avoid
    • Camping in large dormitory-style settings with many people and shared facilities.

State, local, and territorial governments may have travel restrictions in place, including testing requirements, stay-at-home orders, and quarantine requirements upon arrival. For up-to-date information and travel guidance, check the state or local health department where you are, along your route, and where you are going. Prepare to be flexible during your trip as restrictions and policies may change during your travel. Follow all state, local, and territorial travel restrictions. 

The CDC also has an online travel planner where you can get important information as you consider traveling to different cities, states, and national parks across the United States. Simply enter a city, zip code, address, or national park name to learn more about COVID-19 travel restrictions, guidance, and resources in your destination.

If traveling by air, check if your airline requires any health information, testing, or other documents. Traveling Internationally? Check CDC’s COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination before planning your trip.

Lastly, vaccinated or not, monitor for symptoms and stay home if feeling ill. People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19: 

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Don’t assume that a runny nose, sore throat or unusual headache is just a cold or allergies. Play it safe by getting a COVID test, and then remaining home until you receive results. 

With the number of variants emerging, including the delta variant that appears easier to spread, it’s important that we all keep focused on staying safe and healthy. Snohomish County has made great progress getting vaccinated and getting case counts down lower. Let’s keep that progress going in the right direction.

COVID Testing Site Schedule

The schedule for the week of July 11 is as follows:

  • Everett site located at 3715 Oakes Avenue – Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Lynnwood Food Bank site at 5320 176th St SW – open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Appointments for testing are encouraged, and registration is available at www.snohd.org/testing.  Those without internet access or needing language assistance can reach the Health District’s call center at 425.339.5278 to schedule a testing appointment. The call center is staffed 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Callers after hours or on weekends can leave a message, which will be returned on the next business day.

##END##

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