The days of contact tracing in New York State are almost over

SYRACUSE, NY (WSYR-TV) – It’s no surprise that home COVID testing has become the easiest preferred method of finding out whether or not you actually have COVID.

However, the people who were responsible for bringing this news to neighbors are not as common as they used to be.

The New York State Health Department told NewsChannel 9 that it plans to focus on contact tracing, toward case investigation.

As part of the pandemic response, the state Department of Health has initiated case investigation and contact tracing efforts through an independent recruiting organization. The work included phone calls to COVID-19 positive cases and their contacts, as well as links to resources to support successful isolation and quarantine and help schools in their response. On March 23, 3,450 New Yorkers tested positive for COVID-19, along with changes in contract tracing guidelines, effort is scaled back to match the reduced case investigation and contact tracing. Note that this is NYS, excluding NYC data. The Department is grateful to the staff involved in this effort. Their contributions have supported the state’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Further information:

  • The staff for this effort numbered just over 5,500.
  • To date, the workforce is currently 1,093 people. This better matches the current burden of business in the state. Staff have shifted their work from contact tracing to case investigation.
  • Further assessment of the personnel needed to sustain this public health effort will take place in conjunction with the assessment of statewide case data.
  • Communication to staff that was part of the reduction included employment resources such as links to opportunities with the NYS County Health Officials Association, NYSDOH, local health department and public health corps . In addition, the DOL will forward employment resources to affected personnel.

Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang said the main reason for the change in focus is the advancement in the treatment of COVID, since the start of the pandemic.

“Contact tracing started two years ago at which time we had no pharmaceutical intervention,” he said.

“Specifically, we don’t have a vaccine, we don’t have antiviral drugs, so at that point pharmaceutical intervention, and then public health intervention is the only way, was the only way. “