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Travel-related COVID-19 cases prompt health officials to urge testing for travelers returning to state

Four Minnesotans infected with P.1 variant after staying at The Grand at Moon Palace in Cancun; CDC urges no Mexico travel due to high COVID-19 transmission.

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As health officials continue to report more cases of travelers becoming infected with COVID-19 variants, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is urging people returning to Minnesota after travel – especially international travel – to self-quarantine and get tested for COVID-19 before resuming activity in the community.

The latest example of COVID-19 variants coming home with Minnesotans after travel involves a series of four cases of the P.1 variant first detected in Brazil. Four Minnesotans tested positive for the P.1 variant after staying at The Grand at Moon Palace in Cancun between March 12 and March 23. The cases were in members of different families.

The cases underscore the risk of travel during a pandemic, and in particular the risk of traveling to places like Mexico where COVID-19 is circulating widely. In fact, on April 2 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Level 4 travel advisory urging Americans to avoid all travel to Mexico due to the very high level of transmission of COVID-19 in that country.

“We know Mexico tends to be a popular get-away destination for Minnesotans in late winter and spring and there may have been a considerable amount of travel to that country over the last few weeks,” said MDH Deputy State Epidemiologist Dr. Richard Danila. “The recent CDC travel warning shows that Mexico is a very high-risk destination right now, so people should consider this, and if you have not yet been vaccinated, it is all that more important to consider postponing non-essential travel. Anyone who has traveled internationally is recommended to test three to five days after return from travel, even if they are vaccinated, and to be on the lookout for symptoms. If someone has not been vaccinated they should quarantine after return, in addition to getting tested. We ask Minnesotans to do this to protect their families and their communities”

All travelers should mask, physically distance, avoid crowds, and wash their hands frequently. Unvaccinated travelers should test one to three days prior to leaving. Do not travel if you are sick or exposed to someone with COVID-19. 

More information about variant strains can be found on the MDH website: COVID-19 Variants.

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