COVID-19 cases on the rise as experts predict holiday travel surge

AAA predicts 53.4 million people to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, up 13% from 2020.

Thursday, November 18, 2021
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AAA predicts 53.4 million people to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, up 13% from 2020.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Health officials want to remind residents that COVID is still a threat as holiday travel is expected to surge back to pre-pandemic levels.

"This is our busiest period since the start of the pandemic. A lot of people are traveling for the first time in almost two years," said Heather Redfern, the communications director for the Philadelphia International Airport.

Airport officials say roughly 840,000 passengers will be traveling through PHL this holiday season.

According to AAA, 53.4 million people will travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, that's up 13% from 2020.

But officials in Philadelphia are warning about an uptick in COVID-19 cases.

"This increase in cases coming at the beginning of cold weather right before Thanksgiving could mean that we're on the verge of another wave," said Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole.

SEE ALSO: Philadelphia health officials warn of potential COVID-19 wave as Thanksgiving nears

Bettigole says in the past two weeks, 2,351 people in the city have been diagnosed with COVID.

The Action News Data Team found COVID cases have been on the rise over the last two weeks across the tri-state area.

Pennsylvania is seeing the highest case increase at 27%, followed by New Jersey at 23%. Delaware saw a 12% increase.

If you're traveling by air, you should note that you are still required to wear specific kinds of face masks.

"A lot of people are wearing gators or masks with valves. The airlines won't accept that on their planes so you really need a cloth mask or a surgical mask," said Redfern.

And if you're thinking of driving yourself to the airport, you'll need to park at an off-site location.

"Our parking garage will be at capacity, so there will be no parking on-site at the airport. The economy lot is closed; the airport garages will be filled," said Redfern.

Airport officials say your best bet is to use SEPTA, Uber, Lyft or a taxi service.

You can check the status of your flight here.