Photo by Lukas Souza on Unsplash

Staff reports | The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) no longer recommends universal contact tracing and case investigations, instead encouraging health departments to focus these practices only on high-risk settings. The change comes as the national outlook continues to rapidly improve, with case numbers, deaths and hospitalizations plummeting.

The goal of contact tracing originally was to reach people who had spent more than 15 minutes within six feet of an infected person. The aim was to reduce transmission by asking these close-contacts to quarantine in case they developed symptoms. But states and cities struggled to maintain consistent contact tracing programs, and contact-tracing efforts in about half of U.S. states have already been eliminated. 

The CDC is pushing health care programs to focus solely on high-risk settings, such as long-term care facilities, jails, prisons and shelters.

“The updated guidance is in response to changes in the nature of the pandemic and the increasing availability of new tools to prevent transmission and mitigate illness,” Kristen Nordlund, a spokeswoman for the C.D.C., said in a New York Times report.

Latest COVID-19 data

South Carolina health officials on Wednesday reported 421 total new cases of COVID-19, with 280 confirmed, and 32 new deaths, with 22 confirmed. 

With 8,116 test results reported Thursday, 10.6% were confirmed positive. 

  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ with at least one vaccine: 67.5%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ who have completed vaccination: 58.1%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 with at least one vaccine: 18.7%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 who have completed vaccination: 14.6%

For more information, visit the S.C. SCDHEC COVID-19 dashboard.