BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG) – New York County Health Services is no longer required to conduct contact tracing for COVID-19 cases, according to an announcement Tuesday by State Health Commissioner Mary Bassett and Governor Kathy Hochul.
Bassett said the record number of cases due to the highly contagious omicron variant 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 focus more on screening and vaccination efforts.
“The big change for New Yorkers is that if you test positive, you should no longer expect a call from your health department.” Bassette said. “We are moving to more self-management when someone has tested positive or been exposed to someone who has tested positive, and less active outreach by departments.”
Gov. Hochul said the state will leave it up to counties to decide whether or not to do contact tracing. Some counties have expressed concern over the lack of personnel 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 a day, it is almost impossible to do contact tracing as we have been doing. in the past,” Hochul said.
Bassett added that New Yorkers should follow the advice of the state’s new isolation and quarantine website, which will launch on Wednesday.
The website will answer questions about isolation and quarantine protocol. People who test positive for COVID will also be able to obtain isolation orders to provide to their employers, Bassett said.
Residents should continue to report home tests through their county health department websites, where they can also obtain isolation orders.