Kansas will stop contact tracing for COVID-19 next month because it is “futile” as confirmed cases increase and the public becomes less interested in participating, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment said Tuesday.
The change, which takes effect Feb. 1, means people who test positive for COVID-19 will be responsible for notifying their close contacts about possible exposure. If the person has been exposed at high-risk settings such as schools or daycares, state or local health departments will contact the setting, which will be responsible for notifying close contacts about the potential exposure.
Local health departments have already reduced contact tracing and K-12 schools that were participating may also temporarily suspend contact tracing,the health department said in a news release.
“As we enter the third year of this pandemic, public health has to begin to adjust the level of response to help alleviate the strain on the Public Health system,” said Janet Stanek, acting secretary of the health department. “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.”
The change comes as Kansas sees a marked increase in COVID-19 cases. The state reported an average of 7,887 new cases a day for the seven days ending Friday. The data was not updated Monday because of the Martin Luther King holiday.