Connecticut's COVID-19 positivity has reached a new record high and Gov. Ned Lamont said Monday that there is "rampant community spread" of the virus.
Connecticut Public Health Commissioner Dr. Manisha Juthani said the state's positivity rate is up to 21.5 percent, based on PCR tests.
Coronavirus-related hospitalizations increased by 301 since Thursday. There are currently 1,452 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Connecticut.
Juthani said the omicron variant is in every county in the state.
She is urging people to take mitigation efforts, including staying home if they are sick to avoid spreading COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses, to wear a face mask and to get vaccinated. Find out here where you can get a vaccine near you.
Lamont said COVID-19 is rampant. but everybody can't "rush the gate" for the tests at the exact same time.
"If you're symptomatic. If you've got some cold, flu-like symptoms, you probably have COVID, and you definitely should stay at home," Lamont said. "You definitely should wait until those symptoms subside and then get yourself that test and make sure that when you get back to work in five or six days, you're ready to get back to work and you're ready to get back to work safely."
The governor urged people who test positive not to race to the emergency room.
"There's no need to overwhelm our hospitals. Go home, spend a few days, quarantine and then get tested again and make sure you can get back to work," Lamont said.
Lamont said residents have the tools to keep themselves safe, schools open and businesses running and urged people to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
When asked if there was going to be a statewide mandate for people to wear face masks, Lamont said he did not think so. He said he thinks people are doing the right thing and wearing masks.
He did encourage people to wear masks when they are indoors and said the state is distributing millions of N95 masks.
Lamont held the news conference at Stamford Health and Stamford Health CEO Kathleen Silard addressed when people should take an at-home COVID-19 test.
If you believe you have had a significant exposure or have symptoms, take a test.
If you have had an exposure, you should wait five days before testing to get an accurate test, she said.
If you test positive and have no symptoms or mild symptoms, you can likely recover at home, Silard said.
If you are recovering at home, stay at a distance from your loved ones and wear a mask so you do not spread it, she said.
As of Thursday, 1,151 people were hospitalized in Connecticut with COVIID-19.
The news conference comes on the first day back to school since the winter break for students in the state and several schools were delayed this morning and others are closed because of an increase in COVID-19 cases.