STAMFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Gov. Ned Lamont and state health officials continue urging people to get vaccinated and boosted as the omicron COVID-19 variant runs rampant in Connecticut.

The statewide positivity rate hit 21.5%, Public Health Commissioner Dr. Manisha Juthani said during a press conference Monday morning.

Lamont said he would not impose any statewide mask mandate, but he strongly encouraged people to wear face masks.

“This is not 2020, and this is not 2021,” Lamont said. “We’re in a very different position than we were before. We have all the tools to keep you safe. More importantly, you have all the tools to keep yourself safe. That’s how we keep our schools open, our businesses running, and that’s how we are able to live our lives during, what I think, is the final stages of COVID.”

This comes as the Connecticut Department of Public Health released updated guidance on COVID-19 policies for PreK-12 students and staff. The new guidance aligns with the CDC guidelines that call for people who are fully vaccinated and test positive for the coronavirus to isolate for five days.

On Friday, the World Health Organization said that this can be the year we end the pandemic “if we do it together.”

All along, doctors have said we need to get to herd immunity. News 8 spoke to Yale Medicine Neuroimmunologist Dr. Sharon Stoll, who thinks we are near, if not past that point of herd immunity with the omicron variant. She added in general, when viruses mutate, they become more contagious and less virulent.

“This is no longer a novel virus that our immune systems and our bodies have never been exposed to before. I believe it’s that combination that is making it much more tolerable and less deadly,” Stoll said.

Stoll said just as the flu shot changes year to year and protects against the top three or four strains that season, she believes this is something we will need to deal with when it comes to the coronavirus as well.

Along with her colleagues, she said she hopes the vaccines will change to fit the new variants that emerge that season.