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COVID In Minnesota: Doctor Rates Risk For Travel, Sporting Events Amid 'Spring Surge'

This story was originally published on April 2, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Even as more than a million Minnesotans are vaccinated, COVID cases and intensive care numbers are again climbing.

Local doctors say so too are the risks in certain social settings. From sporting events to spring break trips, WCCO asked a local doctor to rate the risk right now.

CentraCare's Dr. George Morris calls the current COVID numbers difficult to see. He believes it's time to re-think the days ahead.

"Unfortunately, it feels like the spring surge or that early part of the fall surge," Morris said. "This is where we are at right now. We're there again," he added. "That means everything we do has just a little bit more risk than it did say a month ago."

We asked about sporting events.

"Sporting events are in the medium," Morris said.

Even as the Xcel Energy Center and Target Field welcome back some fans, Morris says it's critical to still be masked and to keep the shouting and drinking down.

"We need to be really careful about the number of people attending and how much spacing you have between the family units," he said.

He also feels much better about being outside to watch versus inside.

"I think I'd keep playdates on a low risk," Morris said.

Studies now show kids are half as likely to get COVID than adults, and if they do get sick it's usually nowhere near as serious.

We asked about visiting the elderly and at-risk.

"I think that can be anywhere from that low to high risk, and that's unfortunate," Morris said.

If elderly relatives are fully vaccinated and you are too, experts feel that's best. Still, with variant numbers on the rise, Morris says visits should be outside.

Next, we asked about restaurants.

"I'd put restaurants at a high risk," he said.

Morris doesn't feel good about face-to-face situations. Again, he says be outside, if possible.

We asked about vacations and travel.

"Travel is still pretty high [risk]," he said.

To minimize, stick to travel with your family. Morris believes a road trip is better than air travel.

"We want to be able to move forward," he said.

So, as the rules change, he says, proceed with caution.

"If we speed toward the end of the tunnel too quickly, we are going to lose," he said.

CentraCare has put together a digital scrapbook featuring stories from the last year. From the teamwork of the staff to different patients' battles to survive COVID-19, you'll find that here.

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