NY state/counties end most contact tracing

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — If you get COVID-19, you’ll no longer hear from a contact tracer. New York State announced earlier this week it can no longer keep up and kicked it back to counties.

Most local counties say it is no longer an effective way to try to control the spread and they’re using their resources elsewhere.

“The end of contact tracing is not a signal that the pandemic is about to end but I am hopeful that it means we are one step closer,” said Monroe County Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza.

Most counties are now only planning to handle contact tracing for nursing homes, assisted living facilities and group homes.

The rest of us have to take it upon ourselves to follow the guidelines that have been set up. If you need isolation or quarantine-release paperwork to get back to school or work, you can now get it on your county’s website.

“This week is all about transitioning so, it’s not clean we don’t have the answers to everything so we really do ask everyone to have a little patience with the health departments,” said Ontario County Health Director Mary Beer.

What they do know is that “we aren’t going to have access to the same information that we used to have in real-time… we used to put up a map of where the new cases were. We aren’t going to be able to do that because we won’t have that information,” Beer said.

When it comes to schools, Superintendents say contact tracing will be limited. If masks are on, kids/staff aren’t considered close contacts.

If not, “we’ll find out who was within 6 feet of the student who tested positive or staff member—within 6 feet during breakfast or lunch and they’ll be notified,” explained Canandaigua Schools Superintendent Jamie Farr.

Any student exposures outside of the school day, well, we’re all on the honor system.

“This is an opportunity for our parents to step up and do the right thing,” Dr. Mendoza said, “to a large extent we all hold the fate of our schools together in our own hands and I think this is a great opportunity for the community to come together and keep schools open.”

Contact tracing resources are below for residents of: