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Video: Minnesota health officials issue warnings for travelers during recent COVID-19 outbreaks

Mar 22, 2021 05:36AM ● By Editor
Photo: KARE 11 News

By Charmaine Nero of KARE 11 News - March 21, 2021

Recent video from this weekend show maskless spring breakers packing together – leading Miami Beach to declare a state of emergency and set an 8 p.m. curfew, as millions of people flock to warm destinations and beaches.

“Hearing about that makes me concerned for the opportunity not only for spread, but it would allow for more people to be exposed to B117 (variant) in other parts of the country and bring it back," says Kris Ehresmann with the Minnesota Health Department.

She says it's gatherings like this that may cause setbacks. 

“We are in a race against the variant and the vaccine,” she says. “The one that we are most concerned about is B117, because we're seeing an increase in Minnesota, and we believe that variant is really driving that increase.”

Minnesota is now seeing outbreaks of the variant of COVID-19 first discovered in the U.K. in four counties. A variant that, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, accounts for 20-30% of all current infections in the U.S.

“Travel gets these things spread about, and with respect to B117,” says Frank Rhame, with Allina Health. “We have a lot of it here already and don't need anymore."

According to TSA, Saturday marks the 10th straight day where more than one million people passed through airport security. With the increased travel numbers, health officials are asking travelers to practice proper mitigation efforts to stop the spread.

“When you're on the beach, fine, but don't go to the bar and congregate and not wear your mask, that is bad for all of us,” says Dr. Rhame. 

“If you do travel, include in planning that you will stay away from others or quarantine when you get back to Minnesota,” says Ehressman.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance asks eligible travelers to get vaccinated before traveling, and get tested before and after traveling, and quarantine.

For more information about CDC guidelines, visit the website here.  See the original report and watch related stories, follow this link to the KARE 11 News.

Watch the KARE 11 News Report here