Ontario County discontinues COVID-19 contact tracing after NYS drops requirement


CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. (WROC) — Ontario County will discontinue its COVID-19 contact tracing program, officials told News 8 Wednesday.

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Tuesday that New York state would no longer require counties to conduct contact tracing for people who test positive for COVID-19.

The governor, along with New York State Public Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett, said that given the volume of new cases spurred by the omicron surge that those health department resources could be better used elsewhere, like for vaccination and testing.

“It’s just spreading too quickly to make it an effective tool,” Ontario County Health Director Mary Beer told News 8 Wednesday.

Dr. Basset said state will instead launch a website with testing form submissions so people can have the necessary paperwork for the employers should they test positive.

“The fact is we are changing the approach to contact tracing because of the winter surge,” Dr. Bassett said. “This is about flexibility. We are moving to more self-management and our guidance remains in line with the CDC. This will help local governments make a big difference in vaccination and testing.”

“We are going to be allowing counties to decide if they want to contact trace,” Gov. Hochul said. “This is not a requirement anymore. Everyone knows someone who has had it. It spreads quickly and it doesn’t make sense to have counties keep up with who gets tested for positive when they could be focusing on vaccinations instead.”

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