New York will step back from active outreach for contact tracing, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced in a Tuesday briefing. Individuals in counties that use state contact tracing will no longer receive a call for tracing purposes after testing positive, and will be encouraged to self-manage their symptoms instead.
Given the winter surge of people testing positive and the shorter incubation period of the omicron variant, there had been a short window for intervention to disrupt transmission, which is the purpose for contact tracing, said Dr. Mary Bassett, acting state Health Commissioner. The state reported nearly 55,000 new cases on Sunday, or about 19% positivity rate.
County health departments had called for more flexibility in allocating resources to COVID response, leading to the decision for the state to withdraw from active outreach, Bassett said.