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KDHE to abandon contact tracing come February

Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 8:18 AM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Kansas Department of Health & Environment said it will no longer do contact tracing for COVID-19 come February.

The agency defined contact tracing as “notifying close contacts that they have been exposed to an infectious disease and telling them about the signs and symptoms to be on the lookout for.”

They said the decision to abandon contact tracing was made due to the surge in positive coronavirus cases. KDHE also said it has noticed a lack in the public’s willingness to participate, as the pandemic enters its third year.

“Public health has to begin to adjust the level of response to help alleviate the strain on the Public Health system,” Janet Stanek, Acting Secretary, said. “The pandemic is far from over, but this step is a move toward managing COVID-19 as an endemic disease. The responsibility of protecting yourself and others belongs to all of us.”

County local health departments and K-12 schools have also decided to wind down contact tracing.

KDHE said people who test positive for COVID-19 will now be responsible for letting their close contacts know about their potential exposure.

However, the agency said it will still notify high-risk settings such as schools, correctional facilities, long-term care facilities, homeless shelters, daycares, and churches if they have been exposed by an individual. Those facilities will then be responsible for identifying close contacts and notifying them.

Anyone looking for more information can visit the agency’s website.

KDHE will stop contact tracing and outreach on February 1st.

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