By County News Center
San Diego, CA–The County is following the national recommendation to reprioritize COVID-19 case investigations to focus on cases reported in people who are at higher risk of developing serious complications from the disease.
COVID-19 case investigations are now limited to people 65 years of age and older, as well as those in congregate living facilities where the virus can spread at a faster rate. The County will no longer be contact tracing all individuals but will continue to support high-risk settings and outbreak responses.
“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 Wilma Wooten, M.D., 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 more focused approach began late last week and aligns with new recommendations 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.
“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 reprioritization of case investigations and contact tracing,” Wooten said.
The changes will also result in certain data sets no longer being available. That includes discontinuing the County’s Triggers Dashboard, which included 13 surveillance, hospital capacity, and public health response metrics.
The Triggers Dashboard will be replaced by the new SMARTER Plan, which California is now using to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for potential surges of the virus or new variants.
San Diego County’s case rate per 100,000 residents 12 years of age and older is 17.7 for people fully vaccinated and boosted, 17.2 for fully vaccinated people, and 43.9 for not fully vaccinated San Diegans.
About 8,130 tests were reported to the County on March 6 and the percentage of new positive cases was 4.7%.
This metric will no longer be reported as the County is now using California’s SMARTER Plan.