By Amy Kawata

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — There’s still a lot that we don’t know about the omicron variant.

But health experts are encouraging people to get vaccinated and wear masks indoors.

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And if you haven’t gotten your booster shot yet, now is a good time to do so before the holidays.

Ramping up efforts in the fight against Covid-19.

“The bottom line is that we believe that the best way to protect yourself from omicron or the delta variant is to get vaccinated,” said Dennis Schrader, Maryland Department of Health secretary.

This comes as Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations are rising and Maryland health officials detected the first three omicron variant cases in the state Friday, all from the Baltimore area.

“A highly vaccinated population decreases the likelihood of spread, as well as decreasing the likelihood of variants rising,” said Dr. Chuck Callahan, Vice President for population health at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

That’s why the Maryland Department of Health and the University of Maryland medical system are partnering up to expand testing and vaccination efforts across the state.

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Kicking off it’s first clinic over the weekend at Mondawmin Mall in West Baltimore.

“Bringing the care and bringing the access to where people live is crucially important. And it really is the arbinger of where medicine has to go in the future,” said Callahan.

Maryland Department of Health Secretary Dennis Schrader toured the facility Saturday as Covid-19 testing, vaccinations and booster shots were administered.

“We encourage boosters. Boosters are the most important thing you can do if you’ve been vaccinated to protect yourself,” said Schrader.

With the holidays and colder months approaching health officials are hoping Marylanders will take additional precautions to protect themselves and others.

“Get tested. Get vaccinated. Wear the masks, keep the distance, be careful, we’re going to get through this together,” said Callahan.

There will be another vaccination and testing clinic at Mondawmin Mall in West Baltimore next month on Jan. 8-9 after the holidays.

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It will offer in-person testing, take-home testing kits and vaccinations.