COVID-19 Q&A: Traveling during the pandemic

As summer approaches, and beaches and campsites beckon, it’s still important to keep in mind that we are not out of the woods yet as far as the pandemic goes. Travel is possible, with a little homework ahead of time and adherence to precautions to avoid spreading COVID-19.

However, please don’t travel if you were recently exposed to COVID-19you are sick, you test positive for COVID-19, or you are waiting for results of a COVID-19 test. And please don’t travel with someone who is sick.

Q: Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine while I’m in Idaho for vacation?

A: Yes – Idaho has lifted its restriction that people have to live or work in the state to get vaccinated. Everyone ages 16 and older can get vaccinated in Idaho, regardless of where they live or work. Vaccine eligibility is expected to be expanded to include 12-15 year-olds later this week,

Q: What if I am not yet fully vaccinated or vaccinated at all and must travel?  

A: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated, because travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19.

For those who are not fully vaccinated and must travel, the CDC recommends the following steps to protect yourself and others from COVID-19:

  • Before you travel:
    • Get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before your trip. Don’t travel if the test is positive.
  • While you are traveling:
    • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth. Masks are required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
    • Avoid crowds and stay at least 6 feet/2 meters (about 2 arm lengths) from anyone who is not traveling with you.
    • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer.
  • After you travel:
    • Get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel AND stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel.
      • Even if you test negative, stay home and self-quarantine for the full 7 days.
      • If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected.
    • If you don’t get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.
    • Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.
    • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.
    • Follow all state and local recommendations or requirements.
Continue reading “COVID-19 Q&A: Traveling during the pandemic”

COVID-19: A message from DHW Director Dave Jeppesen

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s (DHW) mission is to promote and protect the health and safety of all Idahoans. I have had the privilege of being the director of DHW since January 2019. There’s no other job I would rather have and no place that I would rather be than serving the people of my home state.

I was born in Burley, Idaho, and I grew up in Ammon, a suburb of Idaho Falls. I went to college at Idaho State University in Pocatello. My wife and I, and our four children, have lived in the Treasure Valley for the past 10 years.

While these troubling times have changed our world, they have also brought out the best in all of us. The people of Idaho have showed heart by practicing social distancing and staying home when asked to help protect our most vulnerable residents. We have banded together to slow the spread of COVID-19, which makes me proud to be an Idahoan.

I want to personally thank the frontline of this battle: healthcare workers, grocery store employees, truck drivers, first responders, mail carriers, delivery personnel, and everyone else who is making sure Idahoans have essential items so there is some normalcy in our daily lives. Continue reading “COVID-19: A message from DHW Director Dave Jeppesen”