Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU) warns that although travel may be possible, it comes with risk. The origin of many new cases of COVID-19 in the region have come from recent travel. “Since the U.S. border reopening, we have seen a number of cases in people who have recently travelled to Minnesota. That state currently has one of the highest rates of COVID-19 infection in North America and I recommend that local residents avoid travel to high-risk areas for non-essential reasons, at this time,” says Dr. Kit Young Hoon, Medical Officer of Health at NWHU.
For those who decide to travel, Dr. Young Hoon offers the following advice, “Remember that your destination may have different public health measures than Ontario, which could put you at a greater risk of being exposed to COVID-19. While away, practise all precautions to prevent infection and avoid large indoor gatherings,” says Dr. Young Hoon.
This recommendation comes at a critical time as tomorrow, November 30, the requirements for re-entry into Canada change after short trips to the United States. Canadians, permanent residents, and those covered under the Indian Act who are fully vaccinated and who re-enter Canada within 72 hours of leaving will no longer have to provide a PCR test result. This also applies to accompanying children under 12, regardless of their vaccination status. Upon re-entry to Canada however, children cannot attend school or daycare for 14 days, nor can they participate in extracurricular activities. “If someone under 12 years old visits the United States, they must stay home from school or daycare, limit contact with others, avoid extracurricular activities, and must wear a mask and physically distance when in contact with non-household members for 14 days after returning,” explains Dr. Young Hoon.
Changes also come into effect on November 30 for domestic and international travellers. Anyone aged 12 and older travelling by plane, train, or ship in Canada must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 before boarding and must provide proof of vaccination. This applies to anyone departing from a Canadian airport and all rail passengers on VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains.
For those who choose to travel, visit the NWHU’s Travelling and COVID-19 webpage to learn how to minimize risk.