The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) is issuing new COVID-19 rules that allow schools to stop universal contact tracing.
ODH Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said starting February 4th, schools will only be required to report positive COVID-19 cases to the local health department weekly. Schools are still asked to follow guidelines where those who come into contact with someone positive for COVID-19 wear a mask for ten-days. The ODH also recommends local health officials switch to cluster or outbreak tracing that focuses on high-risk settings to determine if a new variant has appeared.
The Ross County Health District is following the new guidance. The District on Thursday issued thee following release on its compliance with the new guidelines.
Due to updated Ohio Department of Health guidance, effective immediately, the Ross County Health District (RCHD) will no longer be conducting contact tracing or providing quarantine release letters to the general public for COVID-19. This decision has come as a result of high case numbers of COVID-19, the quick spread and rapid clinical course of the Omicron variant, and the reduced timelines for quarantine and isolation as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Infection (CDC) and the Ohio Department of Health.
“Even though we are changing our current approach, we want everyone to know that the pandemic is not over. COVID-19 continues to have a significant impact on the health of our community.” Said Health Commissioner Guillozet. “Our staff is still available to answer questions concerning COVID-19. This change will allow our staff to focus more on outbreaks in high-risk settings.”
RCHD will continue to investigate COVID-19 cases using an outbreak-based model. This model prioritizes high risk individuals in congregate settings such as assisted living and long-term care facilities, shelters and group homes, and jails and prisons. K-12 schools should continue to follow ODH’s protocol, "Mask to Stay, Test to Play," and allow asymptomatic students to attend school while wearing a mask if they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
Those who have received a positive COVID-19 test should self-isolate for five days, stay home until symptoms are gone, wear a mask, and contact those who may have been exposed. You should give your positive test result to those who need it. If you have been or think you were exposed, please follow the flow chart by the Ohio Department of Health.
We continue to recommend vaccination against COVID-19 as the best defense against serious illness and death from COVID-19. Our vaccination clinic is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.. It is important to remember the mitigation strategies that we know work:
- Stay home if you are sick
- Wear a mask
- Social distance when possible.