Holiday travel, COVID cases on the rise again

More people will be traveling this Christmas compared to last year, and it comes as COVID-19 cases are once again on the rise.

Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport was busy Wednesday, Dec. 22. Travelers told FOX6 News they are masking up and making sure they are vaccinated and tested.

It is not always a place that is merry and bright, but in the days before Christmas, there is a little more cheer at the airport.

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“It’s just wonderful having all of our kids together,” Sussex resident Avis Dallman said. “We’re going to have a gingerbread decorating contest with six of our grandchildren, and going out for dinner and opening presents.”

Dallman and her husband, Jerry, waited Wednesday for family they haven’t seen in a while.

Holiday travelers at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport

Across the country, families will be reunited for the holidays. AAA predicts an estimated 109 million Americans will be traveling. Thirty-two percent more Wisconsinites will get away compared to 2020. The travel boost comes amid a COVID-19 surge.

“I think the layered approach to some precautions, and trying to limit large gatherings as much as possible, is good,” said Dr. Dan Shirley with UW Health.

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As the omicron variant spreads, physicians suggest what they always have: get tested, vaccinated and boosted.

“I felt safer once I got the vaccines this past spring, and even getting the booster a few weeks ago,” traveler Lisa Hanson said, headed to New Hampshire for Christmas. “It’s different. It’s preparing to wear the mask for long periods of time, for sure, also getting COVID tests before we left to make sure we’re healthy as well,” said Hanson.

Holiday travelers at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport

Though it’s a little more trouble, it’s worth it for Hanson. 

“I’m excited to be with my family who we haven’t seen in a while because of the pandemic,” Hanson said.

A lot of people who spoke to FOX6 said they have been traveling throughout the pandemic. They feel more at ease, and are continuing to try to stay safe, so they can enjoy the holidays.