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Multiple CNY counties cease contact-tracing efforts

File photo of a COVID-19 testing site at the Walmart parking lot in East Syracuse last year. (Photo credit:

UTICA, N.Y. — Several counties across Central New York and Upstate have announced changes to COVID-19 contact tracing and case investigation efforts as they face the current surge in cases.

“The surging Omicron variant has led to a staggering number of daily positive COVID-19 infections,” Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr. announced in a Monday release. “There is no way that the local health departments can keep up with the overwhelming volume, so beginning today, we will no longer contact trace cases.”

Isolation for positive cases and quarantine for contacts exposed to cases will now be self-maintained, he said. Positive cases will still be notified by the Oneida County Health Department of their positive test, and, in some instances, the department will still conduct case investigations. However, contacts of positive cases will no longer be contacted regarding quarantine.


Herkimer County is also unable to reach out to all positive cases and their contacts, even with the help of the New York State Contact Tracing Initiative, Herkimer County Public Health Director Christina Cain said in a Facebook post.

She asks that all county residents follow the new state guidelines for isolation and quarantine, which require positive cases to isolate for a minimum on five days from symptom onset for positive cases and for unvaccinated contacts of a positive case to quarantine for a minimum of five days from exposure to the infected individual. The guidance can be found online at

In addition to ending contact tracing, both counties now offer options on their website to report positive home-test results and to download any necessary isolation and quarantine paperwork that may be required by an employer or school.

Oneida County’s forms can be found at, while Herkimer County’s forms are available at

Onondaga County also offers self-attestation forms at to help offset the delay in case investigations and contact-tracing efforts.

Other counties following similar procedures allowing people to report a positive test, complete a quick case investigation, or receive attestation forms to facilitate the process include Broome, Madison, Lewis, Montgomery, Cayuga, Oswego, Cortland, and Otsego counties.



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