CDC urges overwhelmed contact tracers to prioritize efforts as cases soar

Given the increased demand for contact tracers, CDC advised against contacting infected people more than two weeks before their positive test, except in rare cases as it is likely too late to prevent them from getting the virus transfer others.

How we got here: The new guidelines come from the increase in cases, hospitalizations and deaths across the country, burdening a public health workforce that was already very thin. Some states and cities have already urged residents to follow up on their own contacts because there aren’t enough people available to call every positive case.

Laboratories say the rise in infections is also slowing the ability to conduct Covid testing, which could delay efforts by local health officials to begin the contact tracing process.

The US is adding more than 1 million new cases each week and nearing 260,000 deaths. Officials fear that thanksgiving travel and family reunions – against advice from the CDC – will encourage further spread and affect the country’s ability to track and contain the virus.

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