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Sacramento holiday travelers head out for Thanksgiving, despite CDC guidelines

The Sacramento County Public Health Officer is expecting to see a bigger spike in coronavirus cases in about two weeks because of Thanksgiving gatherings.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — As coronavirus cases surge nationwide, health officials are pleading that people hold off on Thanksgiving gatherings as worries grow of a bigger and deadlier spike in cases.

Based on mid-October's models, AAA is predicting that around 50 million Americans will still travel this Thanksgiving. 

They say these numbers are a 10% decrease compared to last year.

"I just feel like maybe it's kind of a way of rewarding ourselves for doing so good, so I think it's OK for us to still gather," said Gregory Matthews, a traveler.

Despite the CDC's recommendations to just stay home and not gather, Matthews is hopping in the car to head to two different family gatherings in the Sacramento area, one of which could have around 20 people. 

"My mom and my dad are kind of older... you just never know if this is going to be the last holiday that they'll be able to spend, so to me, that's a big part. I don't want to miss out, and I don't want my kids to miss out," he said.

Others travelers are hopping on flights. 

"Can't worry about it," said Mike, a traveler heading to Phoenix. "You just have to keep living and enjoy our holiday as much as we can, as much as possible."

The travel comes at a time when coronavirus cases are surging across the area and more than a thousand new positive cases reported over the weekend in Sacramento County.

RELATED: Americans need 'significant behavior change' on coronavirus, White House task force says: Reports

Holiday travelers are among those causing long lines at testing sites like the one at the Natomas Unified School District. Sacramento County said, in total, they have tested more than 39,000 people in the past week alone. 

"There's a lot of concern about people either gathering or going to crowded places, and so it will be in the next two weeks that we will see an impact from any of those," said Dr. Olivia Kasirye, Sacramento County Public Health Officer.

Dr. Kasirye is still urging travelers to think twice before leaving.

"I would like to ask them to think again, to think about the people that they're going to see - many of them are going to see elderly parents, grandparents - and to think about the risk that they are posing to the people that they are going to be coming into contact with," she said.

California's statewide travel advisory is in effect until December 21st, which asks anyone who leaves the state to self-quarantine for 14 days when they get back.

RELATED: Despite millions in airports, experts predict the lowest Thanksgiving travel number since 2008

WATCH ALSO: 

California sets travel, gathering advisories as COVID-19 cases rise

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