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Health officials concerned massive spring break crowds will bring COVID-19 variants to NC

Mecklenburg County has issued a spring break travel advisory, telling people not to travel, or get vaccinated and tested first, with quarantining after.

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — As videos of large spring break crowds surface across the country, Mecklenburg County health officials are worried the impacts could be seen here.

For the last few weeks, coronavirus cases have been going down in the Tarheel State. It took a while to get back to this point, and health officials say it would be a shame to lose all of that progress.

“There’s reason to be concerned right now,” Mecklenburg Health Director Gibbie Harris said.

The reason to be concerned: videos showing massive spring break crowds from over the weekend in Florida are getting national attention.

RELATED: Miami Beach declares emergency curfew over 'out of control' spring break crowds

"Yea, it's sort of like my worst nightmare right now,” Harris said.

Harris said this is exactly what she feared with spring break.

“We’re seeing people on top of people on top of people,” Harris said. "Because of the amount of covid still in our communities, there is COVID in those groups and people are potentially exposing themselves. "

Worse, Harris said that potential exposure could come back to their home state.

"In other parts of the country, there are variants that are more widespread than they are here, so we anticipate as people travel they may be bringing more of that variant back into our community," Harris said. 

Unfortunately, Harris said there haven't been enough people vaccinated to prevent another surge.

“Only about 15% of our population is partially vaccinated,” Harris said. 

Harris said it could thwart the progress we’ve made, which health officials are closely watching.

“We have been steadily moving down in all of our metrics which has been great, but just over the weekend we have seen a slight uptick,” Harris said. 

Harris said it's not a cause for concern yet, but everyone needs to continue to do their part.

“I’d like to think that that’s just an aberration and it's going to turn and head back down,” Harris said. "But when I see things like spring break, I’m just concerned about that."

The county has issued a spring break travel advisory, telling people not to travel, or get vaccinated and tested first, with quarantining after.

"We’re just hoping people will enjoy their spring break, but do it safely," Harris said.

RELATED: Mecklenburg County Public Health advises against Spring Break travel