COVID local contact tracing is now optional in New York – Telemundo New York (47)

New York will no longer require local Health Departments to conduct contact tracing for people who test positive for COVID-19, state health officials said Tuesday.

The change will help New York public health personnel focus on testing and vaccinations, Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said.

“The big change for New Yorkers is that if you test positive, you no longer have to wait for a call from your Health Department,” Bassett said during a virtual appearance at an in-person press conference in New York City.

And Governor Kathy Hochul said the increase in COVID-19 cases complicates contact tracing, which involves calling those who test positive to identify those exposed.

“Since we have 12,000 new cases per day, it is almost impossible to trace contacts as we have in the past,” said Hochul.

Counties can now decide if they want to track people, he said.

The state reported that 12,540 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized on Monday, Hochul said. She said she expects that number to continue to rise, particularly in upstate communities.

“It’s still putting too much stress on our hospitals,” Hochul said.

Hochul’s proposed regulation to require reinforcements for healthcare workers was approved by the state’s Health Planning and Public Health Council at a meeting Tuesday. Those regulations will go into effect once they are filed with the New York Department of State.

Once in place, all healthcare workers subject to the state’s current vaccination mandate will be required to receive a booster dose of COVID-19 within two weeks of meeting the requirement, unless they have a valid medical exemption. .

Health Department spokeswoman Erin Silk said the administration is “grateful” for the approval and will provide guidance to workers and employers shortly.

New York is also pushing for rules for nursing home visitors. Beginning Wednesday, visitors must wear surgical-type masks and submit a negative COVID-19 test taken within 24 hours of their visit.

Hochul said the state will deliver 952,000 tests and 1.2 million masks to nursing homes until next week.

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