Local health departments review contact tracing procedures

Coronavirus

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(WETM) – With the announcement that New York State will no longer require contact tracing, local health departments in the Southern Tier are reviewing their own tracing procedures as cases continue to surge.

NYS Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett announced on January 11 that the State would no longer be requiring contact tracing if someone tests positive. Instead of receiving a call from a contact tracer, anyone who tests positive is encouraged to use a new website with testing form submissions so they can have the necessary paperwork for employers.

Steuben County is following the state’s example, saying “It is not feasible for our small staff to personally reach every positive and contact because of the volume of cases,” but that the guidance to stay home if you test positive still remains in place.

Individuals who test positive will get a text or call from the State to confirm their positive result. Steuben County residents are then encouraged to notify anyone they came into contact with who might have been exposed.

For anyone who came into contact, the Steuben County Health Department says they should stay home for five days from the most recent exposure, which can extend to 10 days if the person who tested positive is in the same household. Contacts should also wear a mask for another five days, or quarantine for 10 days if they can’t wear a mask or are immunocompromised.

If possible, contacts are also encouraged to get tested on the fifth day after exposure.

And as with the current guidance for those who test positive, contacts that are asymptomatic or have symptoms that are clearing up, the Steuben County Health Department said they can end their quarantine.

More information on Steuben County’s COVID protocols can be found on the county website.

Chemung County told 18 News they are reviewing their contact tracing procedures.

Schuyler County hasn’t announced any changes to their contact tracing yet.

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