NEW YORK — New York City’s main COVID-19 contact-tracing program will come to an end next month as cases continue to stabilize and vaccinations remain on the rise, the health department announced.
“Trace will be coming to an end in late April — giving us eight final weeks to complete your current work and get New Yorkers ready for the next phase as we learn to live with COVID,” Dr. Ted Long, executive director of NYC Test & Trace Corps, told staffers in an email obtained by The New York Times.
The email was reportedly sent on Monday, the same day that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance saying universal contact tracing was no longer recommended. Instead health departments are encouraged to focus on high-risk settings, like long-term care facilities.
"The city supports the CDC's recommendations to scale down contact tracing going forward. As we enter a new phase of the pandemic, we must adapt our public health interventions, while still providing resources to New Yorkers,” New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi said in a statement.
Chokshi noted that the health department will continue contact tracing in high-risk settings and offering resources to New Yorkers to help them “quickly identify if they have COVID-19 and to isolate safely if they are positive.”
The city began its tracing program in June 2020, employing roughly 2,000 contact tracers to connect New Yorkers with resources to help them to isolate after exposure to the virus, including free hotel rooms, free meals and other services.
When the main tracing program ends in April, New Yorkers who test positive for COVID-19 will receive a text message about resources still available to them, including a new program for anti-viral pill delivery, according to The New York Times.