By Renée Santos

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — It’s the final countdown to Christmas with many people doing their last-minute shopping. Some are sticking to holiday celebration plans all while the region continues to see an increase in cases and deaths.

Sacramento County Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye says the county is currently averaging over 800 cases a day while in the middle of the region’s biggest surges. She says that number could surge to 1,000 a day in the coming weeks.

“Every single time we have had this type of holiday, we’ve seen an increase in numbers so we are already in a surge,” Dr. Kasirye said.

The University of Washington projects COVID-19 trends across the country. We asked Dr. Ali Mokdad where California is headed based on two different scenarios.

“Before the holidays we are seeing a surge of cases,” Dr. Mokdad said.

He says right now, current models project there could be an additional 68,000 deaths by April 1. If 95% of people wear masks that projection drops to over 57,000 deaths. With vaccines now being distributed across the state, he says there could be 62,000 deaths even with a rapid rollout.

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“We really need to be very careful because it’s already increasing and we don’t need to help this virus to spread even faster,” he explained.

With a surge in cases already, some people are playing it safe.

“You know we need to keep our distance, wear the mask so it’s just whatever families decide to do I’m not doing anything big this year,” one person said.

Health experts say we will likely see a peak, but if people are safe in the coming weeks, the cases and death rates could start lowering thereafter.

Even with vaccines rolling out, experts say social distancing and mask-wearing must still be practiced.