Mighty Blog

Is it safe for my family to travel?

Families may have concerns about traveling with the COVID-19 outbreak

March and April are high-travel months because students have time away from school for spring break. But this year, many parents are wondering: Should my family travel this spring break because of COVID-19?

We talked with Patsy Stinchfield, PNP, senior director of infection prevention and control at Children’s Minnesota, about if and where travel is safe.

COVID-19, commonly known as coronavirus, is a respiratory illness that spreads through close contact with people who have the virus or touching a surface that has been infected. Read more: Coronavirus: What parents need to know.

Additional information about COVID-19 can be found here.

Can my family travel internationally?

COVID-19 (coronavirus) has spread to many countries worldwide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) can provide you with recommendations on either postponing or canceling your international trip based on their risk assessment of the country you plan to visit.

On March 19, 2020, the United States State Department issued a global Level 4 health advisory recommending that United States citizens do not travel internationally at this time.

Can my family travel throughout the United States?

Many states within the United States have confirmed cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) and some states have declared a state of emergency – meaning some usual activities may be suspended, such as retail store closings and event cancellations.

With coronavirus continuing to spread, traveling to a different state may increase your chances of getting the virus. It’s recommended you don’t go on any non-essential trips, which unfortunately may interrupt your spring break vacation.  The CDC outlines important considerations to assist you in deciding about your domestic travel plans here.

The CDC says, “Because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes, most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on airplanes.”

Family of three looking out the airport window at an airplane

If you do choose to travel, make sure to continue using precautions like hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes when you are in public areas, on airplanes and at home.

Tips for the airplane:

  • Wipe down your seat, seatbelt, tray table, light and air controls with a disinfectant wipe.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use hand sanitizer that contain 60-95% alcohol.
  • Avoid contact with sick passengers.

What do I do if I think I have coronavirus?

If you think you have coronavirus, or COVID-19, we urge you to stay at home. This is the most important thing you can do to prevent the spread of this illness to other people. Do not go to your health care provider’s office or an emergency department if you think you have been infected with coronavirus or if you have the symptoms of COVID-19.

Instead, please call your health care provider and ask them how to move forward. Your provider can help you with next steps, direct you to the right health facility and determine the need for testing.

The World Health Organization has answers to many more frequently asked questions about COVID-19.

If you have any questions, please call the Minnesota Department of Health hotline at 651-201-3920.

Children’s Minnesota visiting standards

Effective Tuesday, March 10, 2020, we are implementing the following enhanced COVID-19 visiting standards for the safety of your family and others in our care.