BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG) – New York County Health Departments are no longer required to trace contacts for COVID-19 cases, according to an announcement made Tuesday by State Health Commissioner Mary Bassett and Governor Kathy Hochul.
Bassett said the record number of cases due to the highly contagious variant of omicron has made contact tracing more difficult. Health services also have a narrower window to disrupt transmission, due to omicron’s short incubation period.
For this reason, the state will help county health departments to focus more on screening and vaccination efforts.
“The big change for New Yorkers is that if your test is positive, you shouldn’t expect a call from your health department anymore.” Bassett said. “We’re moving to more self-management when a person has tested positive or has been exposed to someone who tests positive, and less active outreach by departments. “
Governor Hochul said the state would leave it up to the counties to decide whether or not to conduct contact tracing. Some counties have expressed concern about the lack of staff and resources needed to successfully investigate cases.
“If they decide to continue they are more than welcome, but it is in response to their requests – given that we have 12,000 new cases per day, it is almost impossible to trace the contacts as we did. in the past, “Hochul said.
Bassett added that New Yorkers should follow the advice of the state’s new isolation and quarantine website, which launches on Wednesday.
The website will answer questions about the isolation and quarantine protocol. People who test positive for COVID will also be able to get isolation orders to provide to their employers, Bassett said.
Residents should continue to report home testing on their county health department websites, where they can also get isolation orders.