CDC no longer recommends universal contact tracing and case investigation

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) no longer recommends universal COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing, saying instead that health services should focus such efforts on settings at specific high risk.

The February 28 update to CDC guidelines comes nearly two years after Robert Redfield, the agency’s former director, told Congress that the United States needed 100,000 people to work as contact tracers. to track the spread of COVID-19.

According to the CDC, a contact tracer was to quickly locate and speak with people who tested positive for the virus, find out who they have recently been in close contact with, then notify those people of their exposure and encourage them to enter a 14-day quarantine. a day to prevent further transmission.

The CDC now advises state and local health departments to focus on “high-risk congregational settings,” such as long-term care facilities, prisons and homeless shelters. The updated guidelines also state that case investigations should focus on cases and close contacts with exposures in the previous five days for settings and groups at increased risk, such as those with medical conditions. underlying, pregnant women and the elderly.

“The updated guidance responds to changes in the nature of the pandemic and the increasing availability of new tools to prevent transmission and mitigate disease,” CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said March 1. The New York Times reported.

The latest data from the CDC shows that the Omicron variant of the CCP virus has become the dominant strain in the United States, accounting for more than 95% of new infections for the week following Presidents’ Day. Compared to other variants, Omicron spreads more easily and generally causes less severe COVID-19 symptoms.

Recent studies also suggest that Omicron may have an average incubation period of three days, shorter than any other variant. The incubation period is the time between when a person is exposed to a virus and when symptoms begin to appear.

An article published in December 2021 on Eurosurveillance, the scientific journal of the European CDC, describes an outbreak of Omicron involving 80 attendees at a restaurant party in Norway. Most of these people were vaccinated and received a negative antigen test result within two days of the event.

Symptoms such as fever started appearing about three days after the party. The researchers said this could indicate that Omicron is able to multiply so rapidly that negative antigen test results become meaningless.


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