Walz, local doctor raise concern about spring break travel during pandemic

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The wild spring break scenes in Miami don’t bode well for social distancing. This is coming despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending no unnecessary interstate travel as spring break approaches.

Earlier this week, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz echoed that recommendation.

"I just think there is too much spread that’s out there. We’ve got to get more people vaccinated," Walz said.

Dr. Peter Bornstein, an infectious disease expert in St. Paul, says he’s most concerned about the new, more infectious variants circulating in the U.S.

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"If they travel, they could bring something back to the state. One of these variants of concerns that we’ve been reading about that is potentially more transmissible and potentially even more lethal," Bornstein said.

Carver County is experiencing an outbreak of the B-117 variant, which was first identified in the U.K. The Minnesota Department of Health says 140 cases were recently identified.

"[The] recommendation is no unnecessary travel. But if they are traveling, they may want to keep an eye on what the transmission is like wherever they are going," Bornstein said. "But to be honest, if you feel you must travel, you would still do all of the things that we recommend: the 6-foot distancing, the masking, the good hand hygiene."

Bornstein also says it’s good to be proactive about getting tested if there are any concerns.

"We do recommend testing before you travel because you don’t want to bring COVID-19 to wherever you’re going, and we recommend testing after travel, to make sure you don’t bring anything back," Bornstein.

The state is still offering free at-home saliva COVID-19 testing kits. There are also free testing sites available throughout the state.