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CDC recommends COVID tests before flying this summer

By Julia Marnin | McClatchy Washington Bureau

If you are traveling internationally or within the U.S. this summer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends you test for COVID-19 in the days before flying.

The agency’s recommendation for all travelers regardless of vaccination status came in an update to its COVID-19 testing website on May 16.

“Consider getting tested as close to the time of departure as possible (no more than 3 days) before your trip” when heading to any destination, the CDC said.

Before the update, the CDC’s recommendation did not include domestic travelers considered up-to-date on their vaccines, according to CNN.

The agency still recommends wearing masks when using public transportation, but doing so is no longer enforced as of April 18.

Here’s what you should know ahead of the “busy summer travel season,” which begins in late May and lasts for three months, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

Domestic travelers

In the U.S., COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are on the rise, according to the CDC.

“Check your destination’s COVID-19 situation before traveling,” the agency says on its domestic travel website.

COVID-19 transmission rates throughout the country can be checked on the CDC’s COVID-19 Community Level interactive map, which displays infections by counties.

Most of the country, 81%, is in an area with a low COVID-19 community level as of May 17, according to the CDC. Meanwhile, roughly 14% live in an area with medium COVID-19 community levels, and about 4% live where the levels are considered high.

“If traveling to an area with high or medium COVID-19 Community Levels, and you are, live with, or are visiting someone with a weakened immune system or at increased risk for severe disease, plan to take steps to prevent getting sick,” the CDC advises.

The majority of the Northeast is considered a medium or high region as of May 17, according to the map.

Additionally, the CDC is reminding domestic travelers that “state, tribal, local, and territorial governments may have travel restrictions in place.”

Before returning home after traveling within the U.S., the CDC advises to get tested “if your trip involved situations with greater risk of exposure” to COVID-19.

U.S. residents traveling internationally

For people flying outside of the U.S., COVID-19 requirements can differ by country, and the CDC recommends becoming familiar with your destination’s rules.

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