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Minimizing Risks of Vacationing

We hate to break the news to those of you planning to get away from it all for a few days, but there is no such thing as a carefree vacation this summer. That was made clear last week.

Eight West Virginians who made the trek to a popular vacation area for people in our state — Myrtle Beach — appear to have come home carrying the coronavirus with them. They live in Preston County, where the news was released by public health officials.

It has not been uncommon during the past four months to hear of individuals or even couples who contracted COVID-19 during trips to out-of-state destinations. But eight at one fell swoop appears to be something new.

Now, public health officials in Preston County are asking that anyone who traveled to Myrtle Beach “or any crowded vacation destination” during the past few weeks, self-quarantine themselves for 14 days.

“When you go to a situation like a beach, you’re going to be around people from all over the country, possibly all over the world,” cautioned Preston County Health Department Administrator V.J. Davis. “This is a virus that you have no idea of knowing who has it and who doesn’t have it.”

Actually, there is a way of getting at least some idea of how prevalent COVID-19 is in a place you may be considering for a vacation. Horry County, South Carolina, where Myrtle Beach is located, had more than 1,300 cases of the disease last week. At the same time, only about 1,000 more cases were reported in the entire state of West Virginia.

If you are planning a vacation, then, there are certain places you may want to avoid.

And if you travel anywhere, don’t take a vacation from common-sense precautions against COVID-19. Social distancing and masks are even more important when you are in a crowd of people you don’t know than when you are at home.

Many people have become restless and eager for some relaxation during the past few months, we suspect. But if you plan to take a trip, be cognizant of the risk — and do everything in your power to avoid bringing viral visitors home with you.

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