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Tropical travel destinations are reopening, local experts give COVID-19 advice

Experts give guidance on where to turn if you test positive right before your big travel plans.
Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 3:02 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - With the rise in vaccinations and tropical travel destinations reopening it seems as if it’s the perfect time to take a family vacation or to book a getaway.

According to the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, there has been breakthrough cases where people who are vaccinated are testing positive for COVID-19.

“The vaccine is not 100% effective, and very rarely are vaccines in general 100% effective,” said Aaron Schekorra, Greene County Public health administrator. “We are not surprised to see folks who are fully vaccinated, testing positive for COVID-19.”

According to the health department, a wide majority of the COVID-19 cases among vaccinated people are not as severe of cases and are most likely due to variants present in Greene County. Health leaders and the Centers for Disease Control recommends if you are going to travel domestic or international to get tested days before and days after your trip.

A Springfield travel agency called Adelman Vacations in Springfield reports cases where clients test positive before their vacation or while they are there.

“When people test positive they are really disappointed. I think we all would be we’ve all been home for well over a year. When you have that vacation plan with your family, you’re disappointed but for the most part but we’re able to re-book them reschedule and it’s a seamless process,” said Shelly Williams with Adelman vacations.

When booking through travel agencies, it is safer in order to get a refund and insurance coverage even when testing positive according to Adelman.

According to the U.S. Embassy in Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, and the OCES COVID-19 page, there has been an increase of cases in those areas changing certain regulations.

“Due to the increasing number of cases of COVID-19 in the Eastern Caribbean, many countries have strengthened measures to combat the further spread of the virus. Many countries require advance COVID testing with valid negative test results prior to arrival, testing upon arrival and retesting after a certain number of days,” said the U.S. Embassy.

Certain countries and states will require forms to be filled out prior to travel.

A popular destination in the United States that requires these protocols is Hawaii. According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, “the State of Hawaii’s online Safe Travels program is mandatory for all travelers. The form, which collects the required health and travel information, is critical to protecting the health of residents and visitors alike.” As of January 26th, all airline passengers are required to provide a negative COVID-19 viral test taken within three calendar days of travel.

“If you are not fully vaccinated we recommend you do not travel. As for those who are we just advise that when traveling you follow the rules and regulations that are set up by the travel facilities, lodging and venues that you’re visiting which includes masking that is still going to be required on on airlines, trains, and buses,” said Schekorra.

The type of COVID-19 test you need to present is a PNR test, which are at free-testing sites here in Greene County. At-home tests will not be acceptable for airline travel according to the Greene County Health Department.

Health leaders also note when vaccinated you are not fully immune one-to-two days after your second dose and it takes two full weeks to be effective and to be considered fully vaccinated.

“Be cautious with children under 12 where vaccination is not possible. There are still poor health outcomes and long term effects that could affect children,” said Schekorra.

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