Surge in Covid cases prompts changes in contact tracing by Health Department

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 January 2022 at 9:14 pm

Genesee, Orleans and state won’t be doing contact tracing for people 19 to 64 but will for those 18 and younger, 65 and older

The big increase in Covid cases locally is resulting in a change in the contact tracing, especially for people ages 19 to 64.

The Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments and State Health Department won’t be doing contact tracing for people 19 to 64 in the two counties but will continue for people 18 and younger and those 65 and older.

The G-O Health Departments needs to prioritize its resources, and will focus on the younger and older age groups “due to the higher risk of spread and severity,” said Paul Pettit, public health director for the two counties.

Orleans County hit a pandemic high for active Covid cases with 561 on Thursday. The county has 75 more cases reported today by the State Health Department. Genesee County has 180 more cases today, according to state data.

The State Department of Health also announced that beginning next week changes will be implemented to case investigation and contact tracing. This guidance may change, G-O Health said this evening in a news release.

Effective Monday, Jan. 10, residents who test positive for Covid-19 or who have had close contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19 will be able to visit and choose the red “Covid-19 Isolation & Quarantine Information” button to be directed to the isolation and quarantine documents.

Those who have tested positive for Covid-19 will be contacted by NYS by e-mail or text. Once notified of the positive result by the lab or NYS, immediately self-isolate and notify close contacts of their potential exposure, G-O health officials said.

Those in the 19-64 age group who test positive should no longer expect to receive a call from the local health department – and a call isn’t required to the local health department.

Those people in that age group who test positive for Covid should follow the general directions from the state for isolation and quarantine, and contact their healthcare provider for medical advice.

For those in need of isolation, quarantine or release documents, they are available on the G-O Health website. Complete the form(s) and print out for employer or school.

Isolation (for those who test positive for COVID-19) G-O Health says the following apply:

  • Isolate for 5 days, where day 0 is the day of symptom onset or (if asymptomatic) the day of collection of the first positive specimen.
  • If asymptomatic at the end of 5 days or if symptoms are resolving, isolation ends and the individual should wear a well-fitting mask while around others for an additional 5 days.
  • Individuals who are moderately-severely immunocompromised should continue to follow standard (i.e., not shortened) Isolation Guidance.
  • Individuals who are unable to wear a well-fitting mask for 5 days after a 5-day isolation should also follow standard isolation guidance (i.e., 10 days, not shortened)

Quarantine (for those who have had close contact with a person who tested positive for Covid-19), G-O Health issued these protocols:

  • Quarantine as follows, where day 0 is the last date of exposure:
  • If not fully vaccinated or fully vaccinated and eligible for a booster but not yet boosted, quarantine for 5 days and wear a well-fitting mask while around others for an additional 5 days.
  • If fully vaccinated and boosted (with the booster at least 2 weeks before the first date of exposure) or not yet eligible for a booster, no quarantine is required but these individuals should wear a well-fitting mask while around others for 10 days after the last date of exposure.
  • If possible, test at day 5 with either a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT, e.g., PCR) or antigen test.
  • If symptoms appear, quarantine and seek testing. In this situation, quarantine would end when the test is negative. If testing is not done, isolate according to the guidance above.

Quarantine orders and release are also included on the website to complete and provide to employer/school.

Given the changes announced for case investigation and contact tracing the Orleans and Genesee data collection/reporting will be adjusted.  Starting next week, GO Health will be releasing limited data on Wednesdays.

For Covid-19 data, visit the state website.