CENTRAL COAST, Calif. (KION) As holiday travel is picking up throughout the Central Coast and the threat of a possible winter surge of COVID-19 ahead, health officials are advising the public to take steps to reduce their risk of catching COVID-19.
According to AAA, 53.4 Americans are estimated to travel this year, comparable to pre-pandemic levels.
“Definitely I try to stay safe and it’s and you know it’s definitely a consideration to take in every time I book a flight,” said Zachary Nachbar-Seckel, a visitor from Washington D.C.
Last year, there was a rapid rise in cases as a result of the holidays causing a near collapse of hospitals in Santa Cruz county but things are different this year due to the vaccine but Dr. David Ghilarducci says there are ways to control the spread during the holidays.
"One is, of course, the vaccine that's going to be ultimately the only way. The second way is behavior. So, you know, staying away if you're ill, wearing a mask, if you're among crowds doing things outdoors," Ghilarducci said.
Over the past two weeks, Santa Cruz has seen a nearly 30% increase in cases. While he doesn't anticipate an overwhelming wave like last year, we're not out of the woods yet.
"If you really want to get together, I think if you can do it outside...think of COVID like somebody smoking a cigarette and if somebody was smoking a cigarette outside versus indoors, it's a much lower exposure when you're outside new. You might get a whiff, but you're not going to get a whole lot of cigarette smoke in your face," Ghilarducci said.
AAA anticipates that roads and airports will be bust this holiday season so plan accordingly.