Minnesotans test positive for COVID-19 variant after Cancun vacation

After four Minnesotans have tested positive for the P.1 COVID-19 variant first identified in Brazil following trips to Cancun, the Minnesota Department of Health is urging travelers to get tested when they return home.

According to health leaders, the four recent cases of the P.1 variant followed visits to The Grand at Moon Palace in March. Officials say they are seeing more cases of travelers becoming ill and are urging anyone who travels -- particularly international travelers -- to get tested when they return.

Health officials say COVID-19 has been "circulating widely" in Mexico with the CDC recently listing the country under a Level 4 travel advisory, urging Americans to avoid travel to Mexico. With demand high for vaccines worldwide, Central American countries have struggled to get vaccine doses. So far, Mexico has been able to obtain around 17 million doses for the country of 126 million, according to Reuters, but is working to release its own vaccine.

"We know Mexico tends to be a popular get-away destination for Minnesotans in late winter and spring and there may have been a considerable amount of travel to that country over the last few weeks," said MDH Deputy State Epidemiologist Dr. Richard Danila in a statement. "The recent CDC travel warning shows that Mexico is a very high-risk destination right now, so people should consider this, and if you have not yet been vaccinated, it is all that more important to consider postponing non-essential travel."

Even if you have been vaccinated, the Minnesota Department of Health says you should test three to five days after returning and keep watch for symptoms. If you haven't been vaccinated, officials say travelers should quarantine upon return home and get tested. And regardless, health officials say travelers should wear masks and avoid crowds. If you've been sick or exposed to someone with COVID-19 recently, you should skip the trip.