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Holiday travel causes concern for an increase in COVID-19 cases

Now that Christmas is behind us and New Year's is right around the corner officials are worried we may soon be seeing the after math with a surge in COVID-19 cases.

LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. — For weeks health experts have been urging people to stay home for the holidays and to avoid traveling. 

Large signs lit with a message across Pennsylvania highways reminding visitors and returning residents of PA travel restrictions, that a negative COVID-19 test is required or you must quarantine. 

The message displayed on roadways weeks before the holidays regarding the order, with hopes to prevent an increase in cases. 

Warnings from health experts leading up to the holidays is nothing new. 

However, now that Christmas is behind us and New Year's is right around the corner officials are worried we may soon be seeing the after math with a surge in COVID-19 cases.

According to the Pennsylvania COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard -- December 18 through December 25 was the second consecutive week PA has seen a decrease in percent positivity. Governor Tom Wolf saying the data shows efforts to reduce the spread are working, but we need to stay on track. 

Meanwhile holiday travel and parties still remain a great concern for officials.

"We are concerned that we could see an increase again in January if people do not stay the course as I've been saying. If they travel a lot and participate in these types of gatherings then we could see an increase again in January. Avoid travel now avoid these gatherings so we can continue to see positive decreases in January," said Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine. 

On Sunday the TSA said they screened over one million people nationwide, making it the highest checkpoint since the pandemic took its course in March. 

A reminder of the order for those traveling back from other states:

Visitors and returning residents who enter Pennsylvania from another state over the age of 11 are required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of entering the commonwealth. If not, visitors and residents must quarantine for 10 days.

As stated on the Department of Health's website, this order is a requirement not a recommendation as an enforceable disease control measure authorized by the Disease Prevention and Control Law. 

According to the DOH the order doesn't apply to those commuting to and from another state, or if you have left Pennsylvania for less than 24 hours. 

Officials continue to urge people to avoid large and small gatherings as New Year's Eve approaches.