Despite pandemic, MIA, FLL see heavy traffic on Thanksgiving weekend

Airports in South Florida were filled with passengers heading home following the Thanksgiving holiday, as medical experts hope those who traveled took safety steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
7News cameras captured travelers standing in line at a Miami International Airport terminal, Sunday afternoon.
Dallas residents Judi Barrett and her daughter, Laurel Barrett, said their flight to Miami was a risk they both were willing to take.
“I think it was very well worth it,” said Judi. “I’ve got Stage 5 kidney failure, so this may be my last trip.”
Laurel said they decided to take the trip despite being aware of the current surge in coronavirus cases across the country.
“I think it’s more of a risk not seeing my family and not being with them over Thanksgiving,” she said.
The Barretts were among the thousands of people who flew through MIA during one of the busiest travel seasons, with 69,000 passengers expected on Sunday alone.
“I am a health care professional, and I work at a hospital, so I’m not terribly concerned as most of the people are, because I see it first hand every day,” said Angel Maldonado, who was traveling to Boston.
It was a similar busy scene at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, which saw an estimated 80,000 passengers over the weekend.
“We’re taking a lot of precautions. We have alcohol wipes and the mask, and we have the shield that we’re going to put on during the flight,” said a traveler.
The travel increase comes as Florida health officials reported 7,179 new cases on Sunday. Of those cases, Miami-Dade reported 1,960, Broward saw 823, and Monroe had 30.
With rising numbers and recent demand for traveling, experts said this is why safety precautions don’t just stop once a plane lands.
“If you’ve been in a gathering of more than 10 people without your mask on over the last several days, please get tested in the next 3 to 5 days,” said U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise travelers to get tested for COVID-19 both prior to and after their trips.
Anyone with questions and concerns about the coronavirus can call the Florida Department of Health’s 24-hour hotline at 1-866-779-6121.

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