By Marlee Ginter

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Concerns over another possible surge in COVID-19 cases are rising as crowds of holiday travelers returned home.

Jo had her eyes on the escalator, fingers clutching a welcome back sign. She’s a godmother anxiously awaiting the little girl turned grown woman she raised as a baby.

“I took care of her since she was like 6 weeks old,” Jo said.

It’s been 10 years since they’ve seen each other and the pandemic pushed back a long-awaited reunion.

“I was actually supposed to see her in March for her spring break when the pandemic hit and then when things opened up, it hit harder again,” Jo said.

Now, a holiday travel season like no other has made things harder yet again. More people went on a flight in America on Christmas eve than any day since the pandemic began.

Numbers have since leveled off as people slowly return home from the holidays, but Transportation Security Administration (TSA) numbers still show more than 7 million people were screened at airports in the last seven days – a week-long high since the pandemic started.

There was a mixed bag of reviews on travel this weekend as passengers arrived at the airport in Sacramento.

“To be honest, we got here about a half-hour earlier. It was speeding up, smooth, safe, everyone kept their distance,” one man said.

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“We arrived an hour early and the line was wrapped around everywhere, and we didn’t make our flight,” said Jen, a traveler.

And yet, even during the most challenging time to travel, some still determined to make their own magical moments happen.

“This time we’re just playing it safe, making sure she’s protecting herself, but I think it’s time we see each other,” Jo said.

Experts say we won’t have an idea of a surge in COVID cases stemming from Christmas travel for about two weeks.

In fact, TSA agents screened a million travelers across the country on Saturday, Dec. 26 alone.

The next step will be tracking a possible COVID-19 case surge from all the gatherings that took place over the holiday. But for some, special occasions couldn’t keep them from packing their bags.