BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — The number of people getting tested for COVID-19 in the last few days has shot up dramatically in Maryland. Instead of staying home for Thanksgiving, health officials believe people are getting a test, then traveling to go see family for the holiday.

Maryland Health Department data shows that daily testing volume crept up. 30,266 tests were completed on November 7, compared to 51,186 on November 20.

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“People are getting it for their jobs, for travel if they are just coming back from traveling,” says Kesha Bowles, a healthcare worker.

Despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warning that people should stay home, Maryland health officials suspect that folks are getting tested so they can travel to see family.

“If you go for a test today and you go to see your family, your grandmother on Thursday, unless you are quarantined between now and Thursday, the test that you are negative for for today is only good for today. So people have to think about that. If they are not going to quarantine, they risk spreading that to the people they love,” says Jon Weinstein the Maryland COVID-19 testing task force director with Maryland Dept of Health.

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WJZ spoke with a man at the Maryland Fairgrounds testing site in Baltimore County. He said his wife felt sick, and then he developed symptoms, so he came to get a test. He’s concerned people may be ignoring the CDC warnings to stay put.

“The stay at home part, I disagree with, but the fact that people are just getting tested to leave, that’s surprising to me,” the man said.

Health officials say with the increased testing volume there’s been a bright spot- as the positivity rate has dipped below 7%.

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For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Ava-joye Burnett