The Niagara County Department of Health has announced significant changes have been made to the case investigation and contact tracing for COVID-19.
Contact tracers will no longer conduct case investigations or identify close contacts. County health officials are asking that anyone that tests positive for COVID-19, either from a lab, pharmacy, medical office, school testing site, or at-home test to self-isolate, notify their household contacts and notify their close contacts. Anyone notified that they are a close contact should self-quarantine, monitor for symptoms, and seek testing on day 5 after exposure (earlier if symptoms develop).
Niagara County will follow the updated New York state guidelines for Isolation and Quarantine released Jan. 4 which shorten the isolation and quarantine period to five days.
“The shortened isolation and quarantine periods, unprecedented number of positive cases, and limited contact tracing resources required a transition to a more realistic, efficient process,” Daniel J. Stapleton, Niagara County public health director. “Contact tracing will be prioritized for individuals in schools and high-risk congregate (nursing homes, schools, daycares, etc.) settings. Individuals should be notified of their positive status by the provider/laboratory performing the testing. All positive cases should visit the Niagara County website for instructions and required documentation. Effective immediately, residents will no longer be contacted to be released from isolation."
Health officials have updated the county website to include all of the documents required for return to work/school for individuals who have completed isolation and quarantine, stated Adrienne Kasbaum, Niagara County Department of Health director of nursing. “We hope these changes will streamline the process for everyone.”
In addition to the updated guidance for isolation and quarantine, the following documents are available on the Niagara County website:
• Public Health Director’s Order for Isolation (document that requires you to isolate)
• Affirmation of Isolation (document that releases you from isolation)
• Public Health Director’s Order for Quarantine (document that requires you to quarantine)
• Affirmation of Quarantine (document that releases you from quarantine) Individuals may submit positive results from at-home tests on the NCDOH Positive COVID-19 Home Test Reporting Form
For more information on isolation and quarantine, visit https://www.niagaracounty.com/health/COVID.