The change occurred in response to the sheer number of Omicron variant cases, which the health department noted is “straining Virginia’s health care system.”
The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced on Jan. 25 that it will no longer investigate every case of COVID-19 across the commonwealth.
If you had COVID earlier in the pandemic, chances are you received a phone call from a contact tracer. That person worked diligently to discover where and from whom you might’ve contracted the coronavirus. They also mapped out a list of individuals who could’ve been exposed to COVID-19 during the course of your illness.
Generally “close contacts” are family members living in the same household or coworkers in close proximity to one another, but could be anyone who was less than 6 feet away from a person with COVID for 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. If tracers identified a close contact, that person could go into quarantine whether they presented symptoms of the illness or not. From September 2020 to present in Virginia, there were over 750,000 case investigations, 400,000 close contacts notified, and more than 6,500 outbreaks.
Now, single-case contact tracing will become a thing of the past. Instead, the VDH will switch its focus to tracing outbreaks and cases in high-risk settings like long-term care facilities, congregate settings, and healthcare settings. Tracers will also follow-up with individuals most at risk for negative health effects from COVID-19.
“COVID-19 continues to spread across the Commonwealth in high volumes, and Virginians should act quickly when illness is suspected,” said Dr. Colin Greene, acting State Health Commissioner. “Please get tested, stay home when you are infectious, and notify your contacts.”
Cindy Clayton, a public information officer with the VDH, said the health department is also evaluating current COVID dashboards and expects to make some changes in the future to better align with the pandemic becoming an endemic.
The VDH website provides guidance on how an infected individual can best notify close contacts of a potential exposure, as well as the current quarantine and safety guidelines. Additionally, COVIDWISE is a good resource for those who wish to remain anonymous, but still notify others who may have been exposed.
Using rhetoric that echoes Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, former president Donald Trump is preparing for a possible second term by plotting to...
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: The United States government is headed for a shutdown this week due to the failure of Republicans in the...
BY DAWN RYKHEART, We Vote In Virginia we hold elections every year, and the years where there is no presidential election usually see less than 50%...
What’re U-Picking Right Now? Virginia’s Guide to What’s in Season and Where You Can Pick it Yourself
While store-bought produce is all well and good, there’s nothing like going to a farm and picking your own fresh fruit, vegetables, flowers, and...