Harris County residents made nearly 200M trips in November despite CDC's warnings

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- As the holidays are approaching, we're seeing more and more people traveling. Nationally, over the weekend two million Americans bought tickets to fly somewhere for Thanksgiving before the nation's top public health agency pleaded with them not to travel for the holiday, according to the TSA's website.

As people are getting ready to celebrate, we're taking a look at how many people in Harris County and surrounding areas have left their homes during the pandemic and how far they've traveled.

U.S. Department of Transportation data from the first two weeks of November breaks down the number of people leaving their homes versus those staying in.

During the first two weeks of the month, about 77% of Harris County residents left their homes at least once. The data doesn't show many trips each person took, but rather the total number of times a resident was on the road. From Nov. 1 to Nov. 14, residents made exactly 198,316,200 trips. About 50% of those trips were made to places less than three miles away and only 2% were made to places more than 50 miles away.

To give a better idea of the data, on Nov. 8, Harris County's total population was 4,698,619. Out of the total population, 74% of residents did not stay home that day. On that day, 5,976,004 trips further than three miles away were made.

These trips are defined as movements that include a stay of longer than 10 minutes at an anonymized location away from home, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

SEE ALSO: These Harris County communities have been hit hardest by COVID-19

With more people traveling and the holidays approaching, last week Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo urged residents not to gather in large groups and to get tested for COVID-19.

"Since the start of the fall, late September, the number of average new daily cases we report in Harris County has increased 250%," said Hidalgo.

Data from the last two weeks of September showed 79% of residents were not staying home.

In Fort Bend County, about 78% of its residents left their homes at least once. Data shows that residents made more than 31 million trips during the first two weeks of November. Out of those 31 million trips, 43% of them were made to places less than three miles away, and like Harris County, only 2% of those trips to places 50 miles away or further.

In the Houston area, Galveston County is doing the best at staying home this month, with 75% of residents leaving their homes at least once daily, according to data.

Brazoria County was the county with the high percentage of residents traveling. In the first two weeks of November, about 79% of residents left their homes at least once. According to data, in those two weeks, 4,168,242 trips were made longer than one mile but not more than three miles.

Montgomery County, like Harris County, had 77% of its residents not staying home.

If people do travel or gather with other households, the CDC urges them to continue to follow the guidance to wash hands frequently, wear masks when around people outside your household, and try to have the Thanksgiving meal outside or with windows open.

The video above is from a previous story.

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