New York City is ending its universal COVID-19 contact tracing program next month, the latest sign the pandemic is ebbing as recovery continues. Wednesday's confirmation comes nearly two years to the day the city reported its first case.
Officials say the health department will still reach out to known positives and conduct some tracing efforts, but the current universal program as it stands is slated to conclude on April 30. Test and trace is still funded through the fiscal year.
In a statement, outgoing NYC health chief Dr. Dave Chokshi said the move was based on new CDC recommendations that contact tracing efforts scale down. Plunging caseloads, high vaccination rates and new treatments have also helped.
"As we enter a new phase of the pandemic, we must adapt our public health interventions, while still providing resources to New Yorkers," Chokshi said.
"The NYC Health Department will continue contact tracing in high-risk congregate settings and will support the Test & Trace Corps in connecting New Yorkers with the resources they need to quickly identify if they have COVID-19 and to isolate safely if they are positive," he added.
The city started its universal contact tracing program in June 2020, after the initial COVID surge, and remained committed to what seems to have been the biggest effort among U.S. cities even after other locales scaled back.