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Pre-Holiday Passenger Traffic Is On The Rise At LAX, Despite Pleas From Health Officials To Stay Home

Travelers wait in line to check in for an international flight Tuesday at LAX. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
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Southern California remains under a temporary stay-at-home order as the massive coronavirus surge continues. But as Christmas approaches, passenger traffic at Los Angeles International Airport is on the rise.

LAX officials say about 40,000 passengers a day have been going through TSA checkpoints over the last 4 to 5 days. That's on par with the uptick the airport saw before Thanksgiving.

LAX spokesperson Heath Montgomery says so far passenger traffic for December is about 27 percent of what it would typically be this time of year:

"The airlines are offering roughly 50% of the total flights that they did last year for the Christmas season. We have seen the airlines add a couple hundred flights this week in particular, so we are expecting to see a little bit of a bump in passenger traffic."

Travelers arriving at LAX, Van Nuys Airport and Union Station are required to fill out an online form acknowledging that they understand California's travel advisory -- it says travelers should self-quarantine for 10 days and monitor their health for 14 days after arriving in the state.
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Travelers wait in line to check in for a flight Dec. 22 at the Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) amid a COVID-19 surge in Southern California. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Travelers wait for rides outside the arrivals area of Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, some healthcare workers in L.A. County are begging residents not to travel or gather with their families this holiday.

"I am asked all the time, what can we do to help you?," Lindsay Burrell, a nurse in the ICU at Torrance’s Providence Little Company Mary Medical Center, told our newsroom. "What you can do for us is stay home. What you can do for us is avoid family gatherings. Friend gatherings...I know you're tired. Trust me, I know....But if we don't start complying, our hospitals are not going to be able to meet the demand...we simply cannot."

Dr. Kimberly Shriner said the same thing about Huntington Hospital, where she works.

"We are in a critical surge mode at Huntington, at full capacity," she said, "and I would very much like to once again share how important it is for our public to do everything they can to prevent further spread of COVID over the holidays. This is truly a critical situation and affecting our ability to care for our community."

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