Health Department, City, County Urge Citizens to Follow CDC Guidelines on Travel
Dr. Sherri Young, health officer and executive director of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, urges Kanawha County travelers, including those returning from Spring Break trips, to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
“In order to slow the transmission of this disease in our country, we have to take seriously the recommendations of the CDC,” said Dr. Young. “That includes these travel guidelines.”
Travel recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention change as the pandemic unfolds. The U.S. Department of State on Thursday asked U.S. Citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.
Travelers from areas with widespread or ongoing community spread (Level 3 Travel Health Notice) are being asked to stay home for a period of 14 days from the time you left that area.
As of March 19, 2020, countries with Level 3 Travel Health Notice include: China, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City, Iran, Ireland, Malaysia, South Korea, England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
Travelers are asked to take the following steps and practice social distancing:
- Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day and monitor for fever. Also watch for cough or trouble breathing.
- Stay home and avoid contact with others. Do not go to work or school for this 14-day period. Discuss your work situation with your employer before returning to work.
- Do not take public transportation, taxis, or ride-shares during the time you are practicing social distancing.
- Avoid crowded places (such as shopping centers and movie theaters) and limit your activities in public.
- Keep your distance from others (about 6 feet or 2 meters).
Additionally, older adults and people of any age with serious chronic medical conditions should consider postponing nonessential travel to most global destinations. The CDC also recommends that travelers, particularly older adults and those with serious chronic medical conditions, defer cruise ship travel worldwide.
The CDC also notes that COVID-19 cases have been reported in many U.S. states and some areas are experiencing community spread of the disease. Crowded travel settings, like airports, may increase chances of getting COVID-19, if there are other travelers with coronavirus infection.
There are several things you should consider when deciding whether it is safe for you to travel:
- Is COVID-19 spreading in the area where you’re going?
- Will you or your travel companion(s) be in close contact with others during your trip? Are you or your travel companion(s) more likely to get severe illness if you get COVID-19?
- Do you have a plan for taking time off from work or school, in case you are told to stay home for 14 days for self-monitoring or if you get sick with COVID-19?
- Do you live with someone who is older or has a serious, chronic medical condition?
- Is COVID-19 spreading where I live when I return from travel?
Depending on your unique circumstances, you may choose to delay or cancel your plans. If you do decide to travel, be sure to take steps to help prevent getting and spreading COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases during travel
Additional recommendations for travelers can be found on the CDC’s website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html.
Residents with questions about the pandemic may call the health department at 304-348-1088.