MDH: 4 Minnesotans infected with COVID-19 variant while in Mexico

As health officials continue to report more cases of travelers becoming infected with COVID-19 variants, the Minnesota Department of Health is urging people returning to Minnesota after travel — especially international travel — to self-quarantine and get tested for COVID-19 before resuming activity in the community.

The latest example of COVID-19 variants coming home with Minnesotans after travel involves a series of four cases of the P. 1 variant first detected in Brazil. Four Minnesotans tested positive for the P. 1 variant after staying at The Grand at Moon Palace in Cancun from March 12-23. The cases were in members of different families, according to MDH.

MDH says the cases underscore the risk of travel during a pandemic, and in particular the risk of traveling to places like Mexico where COVID-19 is circulating widely. Two weeks ago the CDC issued a Level 4 advisory urging Americans to avoid all travel to Mexico due to the very high level of transmission in the country.

"We know Mexico tends to be a popular get-away destination for Minnesotans in late winter and spring and there may have been a considerable amount of travel to that country over the last few weeks," said MDH Deputy State Epidemiologist Dr. Richard Danila. "The recent CDC travel warning shows that Mexico is a very high-risk destination right now, so people should consider this, and if you have not yet been vaccinated, it is all that more important to consider postponing non-essential travel."

Danilla said anyone who has traveled out of the country should get tested three to five days after returning, even if vaccinated. He recommended that anyone who hasn’t been vaccinated should quarantine upon return, in addition to getting tested.