Department of Health: ‘Don’t travel unless it’s absolutely necessary’

State health leaders are pleading for people to stay home for spring break. They said COVID-19 cases are climbing, and this is not the time for Washingtonians to let down their guard.

“Don’t travel unless it’s absolutely necessary,” said Dr. Scott Lindquist, acting state health officer. He said to stay home even if you are fully vaccinated. “I know that’s a hard message to send to folks who want to go on spring break. But truly, we are seeing cases in vaccinated people that are breakthrough, that have done just that, people who traveled to spring break, etc.”

The state is investigating 102 breakthrough cases, where people who were fully vaccinated still contracted COVID-19. They expect to find variants responsible for many of those cases.

Right now, 1.3 million people in Washington are fully vaccinated. But according to the state, that leaves about 83% of the population still unprotected.

The next two weeks of April are expected to be busiest at Sea-Tac as many school districts are on spring break.

“We do know people are going to travel, but we want to remind people staying home is the safest for families, schools and communities,” said Dr. Umair Shah, secretary of health with the Washington State Department of Health.

The state is following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, which state you should get tested for COVID-19 before you fly and when you get back. They want travelers to self-quarantine for a full seven days after travel, even if their test is negative.