MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — There’s a last-minute push for both testing and vaccinations ahead of the holiday, and health officials say it’s for good reason.

About 11% of tests are coming back positive across the state of Maryland, the highest test positivity rate since June 2020.

Montgomery County’s acting health officer Dr. James Bridgers says the local rate is likely lower than that.

“Our test positivity rate is still somewhat high, but around 5 or 6 percent, but lower than the state, our case rates are typically half and have been consistently the lowest,” said Dr. Bridgers.

Montgomery County clinics and most local pharmacies have shifted to testing and vaccination by appointment only in the last few days as demand has started to pick up. Dr. Bridgers says more testing is a good thing.

“We’ve gone from around 1,000 [tests per week] in late summer, to now about 10,000 [tests per week] and that’s good, we want people to get tested and know their status,” said Dr. Bridgers.

With the Omicron variant dominating headlines, health officials say while it is cause for concern, it’s not necessary to completely cancel your holiday plans.

“We’re still exploring research and data about the variant. ‘The jury is still out’ as they say, but we still need to be mindful and not let our guard down,” said Dr. Bridgers.