For Immediate ReleaseMarch 26, 2021
Public health agencies, including Marin’s, issue warning prior to spring break
San Rafael, CA – Word to the wise about making out-of-town spring break or other travel plans over the next few months: Infectious diseases like COVID-19 love to come along for the ride.
Also, with springtime observances like Easter coming on Sunday, April 4, remember that maintaining precautions against large gatherings will prevent a resurgence of the virus.
Even with nearly half of Marin County residents vaccinated with at least one shot, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the California Department of Public Health, and Marin County Public Health are all aligned with longstanding warnings against travel and gatherings — that refraining from big social affairs and remaining at home and restricting trips is the best way to end the pandemic.
The increasing prevalence of virus variants that are more contagious or more lethal across the nation and globe is travel related risk. Travel puts both the traveler and the community they return to at risk of infection.
“If you have the travel bug, remember that COVID-19 is a travel bug,” said Dr Matt Willis, Marin County Public Health Officer. “Stay local. The last thing we need to do is import variants into our community.”
Local public health officials have already seen the impact on non-essential travel among club sports teams. Local teams have traveled to distant parts of California or even outside of the state to participate in tournaments. This has resulted in an increase of COVID-19 cases among youth athletes, and exposures to family members. This affects local schools, as COVID-19 cases can require closures of classrooms for quarantine.
“We’ve made so much progress in the past two months: vaccination rates are increasing, and infection rates are declining,” added Willis. “Our goal should be to hold on to those gains, and not let down our guard.”
The CDC’s Know Your Travel Risk webpage includes important reminders under the caveat that any travel is not recommended at this time of the pandemic. If you must travel, take steps to protect yourself and others:
Those adhering to the advice and staying close to home still need to consider restrictions on in-person gatherings, too. Currently, the California Department of Public Health recommending moving gatherings outside, where air circulation is better. Otherwise, indoor gatherings should be no more than 2 hours in length and with no more than three different households who remain masked. Additional considerations for safe holiday travel and gatherings can be found on Marin Public Health’s Celebrate Safely webpage.
Health officials note that when vaccination rates reach 80 percent of residents, some restrictions and travel and gatherings may be further relaxed. As supplies increase residents are encouraged to obtain their vaccine when eligible. Visit GetVaccinatedMarin.org for latest updates on eligibility and availability of appointments.
Dr. Matthew WillisPublic Health OfficerHealth and Human Services
3240 Kerner Blvd.San Rafael, CA 94901(415) 473-4163Email: Dr. Matthew WillisMarin HHS website