Holiday season has officially arrived, and with that begins the season of traveling to visit loved ones. This year however, the holidays may look very different for all of us. Truthfully many of us may opt out of celebrating at our usual large gatherings with friends and family because of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you find that you still need to travel during this holiday season or are considering any activities outside your “bubble” below are some helpful tips to keep healthy.
By now most of us have heard about the 3 W’s: wash your hands, wear your mask, and watch your distance. Whenever possible wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water. When traveling, oftentimes sinks are not always available to us so be sure to pack a bottle of alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 70% alcohol in it when you need a quick and safe solution.
Wear your mask at all times when you are traveling or visiting with people. Especially if you find yourself traveling on an airplane this season. Be sure that the mask is covering your nose and mouth properly to ensure the best protection possible.
Finally, always watch your distance when possible. If you have the option to sit further away from a group of people, take it. Consider hosting your holiday event outside this year. That way there can be proper ventilation and the ability to sufficiently distance yourself. Even a slight breeze can help disperse aerosolized virus droplets and reduce the spread of illness. Maintaining a 6 foot distance from people will protect you and others from spreading germs – use more tables and assign seating based on those who are already exposed to one another. After conducting thousands of COVID tests over the last few months, our team has seen that one of the most common situations for exposure is mealtime. Masks must be removed, guards are down, and people sit close together to chat. Outsmart your exposure points by spacing out and opting outside.
Flying during COVID
Keep in mind that traveling at any time during a pandemic increases your risk of contracting and transmitting the virus, especially at crowded places like an airport. When flying you are required to go through security lines and wait in airport terminals for an extended amount of time. Oftentimes social distancing is not an option in these compact areas making it crucial to wear a mask. Airports are full of frequently touched surfaces so you may want to consider sanitizing and washing more often when in this environment. Once you are on the plane maintaining a safe 6 feet from others will likely not be possible and air is recirculated during the flight, so wearing your face mask properly is imperative during your flight. Just always keep in mind that focusing on the 3 W’s is not just to protect you but others as well! For more details on how to safely travel during the pandemic, check out this link.
Some states may require a PCR test
If you plan to spend your holidays in Maine this year, they will require that you quarantine 14 days before arrival or provide a negative PCR COVID test 72 hours before arrival. States like Hawaii, Alaska, Massachusetts, and New York have the same policy for travellers entering their state. Do some research on the state or country you plan to travel to before heading to the airport to ensure you meet their needed requirements for travel. If you need a test before traveling standard and rapid PCR COVID tests are available at Complete Health Partners. For a complete list of states’ requirements for traveling follow this link: https://www.delta.com/us/en/travel-update-center/flying-what-you-need-to-know/coronavirus-regional-restrictions
Before making your travel plans for the holidays keep in mind the risk of spreading the virus to others, especially the people who are at highest risk such as the elderly and immunocompromised. If staying home is not an option for you this year, be sure that 3 W’s are your main focus during traveling. Wash your hands, wear your mask and watch your distance to not only protect yourself but your loved ones too!
Our clinics are here to help with all of your COVID19 needs, we have two convenient locations with the ability to book appointments for testing. Our Nashville West location, located in the Nashville West shopping center next to Costco and Target, is open 7 days a week from 9am-7pm. Our downtown location, located on the corner of 3rd and Church St, is open Monday-Friday 9am-5pm. Our clinics are locally owned and operated by emergency room physicians, so we are prepared to help with any need you have. We are proud to serve Tennesseans from Dickson to Downtown and from Ashland City to Lebanon!