Doctor advises travelers to consider COVID-19 restrictions this holiday season


HONOLULU (KHON2) — Several states are reportedly seeing an alarming increase of coronavirus cases. Doctors say people should weigh the risk of travel as well as the risk of visiting certain hot spots when deciding whether to plan a trip this year.

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Travel during the pandemic is not as simple as booking a flight. There are safety concerns to consider, especially for those traveling from Hawaii, which currently has some of the lowest numbers of COVID-19 cases.

Queen’s Health System Senior Vice President, Dr. Rick Bruno, says areas in the Midwest are spiking the most with coronavirus cases.

“The idea is that parts of the country where COVID incidents are very high right now, you might think twice about going to that area,” Bruno said.

Certain counties in California are also starting to impose tougher restrictions as cases escalate.

But Lt. Governor Josh Green says to keep in mind that the majority of other states will have a higher case rate of the virus than Hawaii.

“Basically for the other 49 states, unless you’re going to Vermont, you’re going to a place that has a higher rate of COVID, right now,” Green explained.

Airlines have increased cleaning, sanitation and air filtration for added safety. Masks are also required onboard and Bruno recommends continuing to social distance when doing things like picking up luggage. He adds travelers should wash their hands and continue those practices even if COVID-19 rules are different depending on the destination.

“I would ask if you’re going to go to the mainland, do the same things you’ve done at home. Wear a mask, social distance, be careful, we’ve shown in Hawaii that we can decrease the incidents.”

Dr. Rick Bruno, Queen’s Health System Senior Vice President

He says the medical recommendations on coronavirus remain the same regardless of location. But just how Hawaii visitors take a COVID-19 test to avoid quarantine, residents will need to do the same. Showing symptoms of illness can affect returning home.

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