In anticipation of increased travel during the upcoming winter holiday season, the OC Health Care Agency (HCA) advises residents and visitors to adhere to guidelines for domestic and international travel from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
For individuals who are fully vaccinated:
- You can travel safely within the U.S. without being required to test or quarantine
- If you are traveling internationally, check your destination’s COVID-19 situation and travel requirements before traveling, as countries may have their own entry and exit requirements. You are also required to show proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test result taken no more than 3 days before traveling back to the U.S. from a foreign country. After returning to the U.S., get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel and self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms
For individuals who are not fully vaccinated:
- You are strongly encouraged to delay travel until you are fully vaccinated
- If you must travel, get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before travel and 3-5 days after travel, and stay home and self-quarantine for 7 full days after travel, even if you test negative (10 days if you don’t get tested). International travelers must also provide a negative COVID-19 test result taken no more than 1 day before traveling back to the U.S. from a foreign country
If you recently recovered from COVID-19, you may instead travel with documentation of recovery from COVID-19 (i.e., your positive COVID-19 viral test result on a sample taken no more than 90 days before the flight’s departure from a foreign country and a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel).
Non-U.S. citizens and non-U.S. immigrants must be fully vaccinated to travel to the United States by plane (not a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, lawful permanent resident, or traveling to the United States on an immigrant visa). The timing of this test depends on your vaccination status and age. Additionally, beginning November 8, foreign nationals who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and have appropriate documentation will be permitted to enter the U.S. via land ports of entry and ferry terminals for non-essential reasons such as tourism.
“Be patient as there will be longer wait times at airports,” says Dr. Clayton Chau, HCA Director and County Health Officer. “Be ready for a layer of extra screening procedures to verify the vaccination status and ID of each traveler. Most importantly, be kind to your transportation service providers, especially in the air”.
Regardless of your vaccination status, you must wear a mask over your nose and mouth at all times on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and while indoors at U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
“With the holidays approaching, we know that more people will be traveling and gathering in groups, which increases the likelihood of COVID-19 passing from person to person,” says Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong, Deputy County Health Officer. “In addition to following the CDC’s travel guidelines, we continue to strongly encourage everyone to routinely self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and getting tested if you feel sick. If you are unvaccinated, wear a mask when you are indoors, in large crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. Most importantly, know your own risks and those of your loved ones. Finally, to prevent another surge, if you are eligible and not yet fully vaccinated, please get vaccinated.”
While COVID-19 cases in Orange County have dropped slightly over the last several days, COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased. Between November 4 and November 9, hospitalizations increased from 212 to 225 per day. The seven-day average COVID-19 case rate decreased from 7.9 to 7.4 per 100,000 people and the average number of daily COVID-19 cases decreased from 254 to 239. The positivity rate has remained steady at 2.8 percent and ICU admissions dropped slightly from 54 to 53 per day.
Orange County COVID-19 case count and testing figures are updated daily, Monday through Friday, at occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/coronavirus-in-oc. For more information on COVID-19 testing options, visit occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/covid-19-testing.
COVID-19 vaccines are widely available for walk-ins, same day and future appointments. Anyone who is eligible for a vaccine and not yet fully vaccinated is encouraged to access the most convenient option available to them to get their shot. For more information, please visit COVIDVaccineFacts.com and click on “Find a COVID-19 Vaccine”.