DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN)– AAA North Dayton Office estimates an extra 2-million drivers will be traveling this weekend for Thanksgiving holiday, which health leaders say is a major concern for contracting COVID-19.

Fortunately, this holiday season is different from last year. Health leaders say the COVID-19 vaccines can make gatherings safer, but for those who aren’t, traveling to indoor gatherings could pose several health risks to all.

“We were hoping by Thanksgiving we’d have much lower numbers and Christmas even lower, doesn’t look like we’re going to get that level so we do expect a lot of covid activity throughout the next several months,” said Health Commissioner CCCHD Charles Patterson.

Local and state health leaders warn cases and hospitalizations may be on the rise due to high volumes of holiday travels. According to ODH, south western Ohio’s average case rate is 401-cases per 100,000, which is four times higher than the CDC’s risk rate.

“As we look forward to the upcoming holiday season as well as cold and flu season, please if you are not vaccinated, choose to get the vaccine,” said ODH Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff.

Public Health believes covid fatigue may be contributing to high spread, residents are willing to let down their guards to feel normal this holiday weekend. However, they say the chances of contracting COVID-19 is still too high to risk it.

“Number one and the most important, is if you’re sick do not travel,” said Public Health Dayton & Montgomery County PIO Dan Suffoletto.

According to the coronavirus dashboard, over 57-percent of the eligible Ohioans have started the vaccination process.