County to limit contact COVID-19 tracing investigations to at-risk groups

Joseph Ortiz
Posted at 5:24 PM, Mar 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-10 20:24:01-05

SAN DIEGO (CNS) — San Diego County reported 562 new COVID-19 infections and 10 deaths, as public health officials continued a move toward a limiting contact tracing.

The county Health and Human Services Agency announced it will follow the national recommendation to focus COVID-19 case investigations on people who are at higher risk of developing serious complications from the disease, such as those 65 and older and those living in congregate care facilities.

The county will no longer be contact tracing all individuals, but will continue to support high-risk settings and outbreak responses, a statement from the Health and Human Services Agency said.

"COVID-19 vaccines are now widely available, and the majority of the local population is now more protected because they have received all the recommended doses," said Dr. Wilma J. Wooten, county public health officer. "Therefore, our efforts are now directed at high-risk people or individuals who reside in congregate settings, such as nursing homes, jails and homeless shelters, and in guiding them to care and treatment."

The county began the limited approach last week, following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is no longer recommending case investigation and contact tracing of every new case of COVID- 19.

The change will result in fewer case investigations and contact tracing since the new target populations only represent about 10% of the total number of cases being reported, the county statement read.

"Widespread vaccinations of most age groups, increased use of rapid antigen tests, and the emergence of more-transmissible variants with short incubation periods allowed for the re-prioritization of case investigations and contact tracing," Wooten said.

Thursday's data increased San Diego County's cumulative totals to 743,280 cases and 5,100 deaths.

According to Thursday's state data, the number of patients in San Diego County hospitals with COVID-19 decreased to 261, from 272 on Wednesday. The number of those patients in intensive care decreased by six to 52.

The percentage of COVID-19 tests that returned positive in the last week decreased to 3.6% as of Tuesday, down from 4.4% on Friday. The county reports that data on Tuesdays and Fridays. An average of 15,898 tests were reported daily in the past week.

A total of 1,182,653 -- or 55.1% -- of San Diego County residents who are fully vaccinated have received a booster shot, according to the agency.

More than 2.93 million -- or 93.2% -- of San Diego County residents age 5 and older are at least partially vaccinated and more than 2.58 million, or 82%, are fully vaccinated.