County no longer tracing contacts for all COVID infections

SAN DIEGO — San Diego County public health officials are no longer conducting contact tracing on all COVID-19 infections and are instead focusing on those at highest risk of developing complications, announced Wednesday. the count.

The change began last week and comes amid recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prioritize COVID-19 case investigations and contact tracing efforts. Under the county’s new policy, case investigations will be limited to people age 65 and older and those living in congregate residences.

“COVID-19 vaccines are now widely available and the majority of the local population is now better protected as they have received all recommended doses,” county public health officer Dr. Wilma Wooten said in a statement. “As a result, our efforts are now directed towards high-risk individuals or individuals who reside in congregate settings, such as nursing homes, prisons and homeless shelters, and to guide them to care. and treatment.”

As a result, the county said it plans less case investigation and contact tracing. Indeed, the targeted groups represent approximately 10% of reported infections. It also means the county will abandon its Trigger Dashboard, which it has used throughout the pandemic to measure key virus data, including hospital capacity.

The dashboard is replaced by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s SMARTER plan, a “rampant” approach that was unveiled last month that places a heavy emphasis on prevention and rapid response to future outbreaks.

SMARTER is an acronym that stands for Shots, Masks, Awareness, Readiness, Testing, Education and Rx.

“Widespread vaccination of most age groups, increased use of rapid antigen tests, and the emergence of more transmissible variants with short incubation periods have re-prioritized case investigations and contact tracing,” Wooten said.

COVID-19 testing and vaccinations remain available to everyone across the county. A list of testing sites is available by clicking or tapping here and vaccination sites are here.