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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — With Christmas only a few days away, health experts are warning travelers to be careful as cases are expected to continue to rise during the holidays.

Doctors at UC Davis Health said what’s going on is a steady increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.

“We were already expecting an increased number of cases because of winter. The virus is traditionally transmitted during winter due to favorable temperature and humidity,” said Dr. Dean Blumberg.

And omicron isn’t making it any better.

“With omicron, it’s somewhere between two to five times more transmissible than delta,” Blumberg said.

Even with a new COVID-19 variant and an expected surge in cases this holiday season, many travelers are still taking the risk.

A reunion at the Sacramento International Airport was months in the making. Roseville-native Madysen Nickerson was home for the holidays after spending the last few months away at Boise State University.

This year was Nickerson’s first away from home.

“We really just wanted to be with our family and it’s super important to us to just be all together in such a time where we don’t really know what’s going on,” Nickerson said.

“It was really sad. We weren’t able to come home for Thanksgiving,” Nickerson told FOX40.   

Families like the Nickersons said the travel is worth it to see their loved ones.

“Ah, everything,” Shelly Nickerson said with tears. “Yeah, I’ve missed her.”

They are making sure that safety was the first priority.

“We made it work for Christmas. We’re all taking safety precautions and taking it one step at a time, but we’re all together, so that’s all that matters,” Shelly Nickerson said.

Doctors understand COVID-19 fatigue and say getting vaccinated and wearing masks will be the best protection while traveling.

“Make your plans, but pay attention to what’s going on. Things may change rapidly and be prepared to cancel,” Blumberg advised.  

For the Nickerson family, it all worked out this year.

“It’s just wonderful to have her home for the holidays and just to get the whole family together,” said Ben Decamp.

With the holidays and the increased travel, doctors at UC Davis Health said they believe the number of COVID-19 cases will peak sometime in late January.