Holiday travel concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic

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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – As air travel increases and upcoming holidays near, medical professionals advise all who plan to spend their time away from home to be vigilant against COVID-19. Their main advice is to know the COVID-19 travel restrictions of your destination ahead of your holiday plans as there are some states that still have South Carolina on an immediate 14 day quarantine upon arrival.

Dr. Marcus Salo with Roper St. Francis said that traveling, whether by car or by plane, can increase your risk of exposure to COVID-19.

With traveling by car, the main areas of concern, according to Dr. Salo, are the amount of passengers in the vehicle and the rest stops in between.

As for flights, he explained there’s many more shared surfaces with others that you should need to be wary of. And with some airlines beginning to sell their middle seats again, social distancing could become non-existent while in the air.

Once you actually get into the plane and you have somebody next to you, there’s not much more that you can do other than just keep yourself safe and then if it’s a friend or a family member, encourage them to do the same. 

Dr. Marcus Salo, Roper St. Francis Johns Island 

There are, however, ways to protect yourself which include practicing the CDC’s recommendations of social distancing when able to, wearing your mask when not eating or drinking, and conducting proper hand hygiene. 

As for obtaining a COVID test with no symptoms prior to boarding, Dr. Salo said he “wouldn’t recommend just prophylactically getting a test, because there are so many times that we can have a false positive and false negative result which may play into further spread of the virus.”

As for when you return, if you are symptom-free, it’s important to remember that you could still have been exposed along your travel route. Dr. Salo said if you are asymptomatic, you do not need to keep a hard 14-day quarantine. Rather, if you begin to show symptoms, monitor yourself and then self-isolate until a test is taken.

Dr. Salo recommends that if you are sick or have been in contact with a presumptive positive or confirmed positive case of COVID-19, you should remain home from your holiday travels.

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