What happened to contact tracing?

Once touted as a key strategy to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, contact tracing has since taken precedence over vaccinations and mask-wearing amid the pandemic.

More than a dozen states have scaled back contact tracing efforts, according to the National Academy for State Health Policy. Virginia became the most recent state to limit contact tracing efforts on Jan. 25. The state will no longer investigate every case of COVID-19 and will instead focus contact tracing efforts on cases and outbreaks in high-risk settings, such as long-term care facilities. .

“Over 600 cases were reported to us yesterday,” said Breanne Forbes Hubbard, population health officer for Mount Rogers Health District in Marion, Virginia. WCYB. “We can’t trace and isolate that many cases, we don’t have enough staff for that. It’s just too crowded for this omicron push.”

Virginia isn’t the only state to cite skyrocketing case numbers as a reason for ending or reducing contact tracing work. Massachusetts shut down its contact tracing program in December 2021 to focus on COVID-19 testing and vaccine awareness, citing the omicron push as the primary reason. Nebraska also changed its contact tracing program last December, focusing on large clusters of infections versus individual cases.

Nationally, omicron cases appeared to peak on January 14, with a seven-day case average of 806,795. During the delta surge, the seven-day case average reached 164,374 on September 2, according to data tracked by The New York Times.

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