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Erie County stops COVID contact tracing amid surge in cases

Abbott's BinaxNow at home COVID-19 test.
Ted S. Warren
Abbott's BinaxNow and Quidel's QuickVue can be purchased without a prescription for consumers who want to test themselves for COVID-19 at home.

The Erie County Health Department said the substantial volume of COVID-19 case reports in recent days has exceeded its contact tracing capacity. It can no longer individually contact every Erie County resident with a positive COVID test result.

So it's asking people with a positive test result — either from a lab, pharmacy, medical office or at-home test — to self-isolate and notify their household and close contacts. Positive test results from a home kit should be reported online to the county at http://www.erie.gov/hometestreport.

The Health Department will continue to notify residents of test results at county Health Department test sites.

Anyone who's been exposed to someone who's tested positive is asked to self-quarantine, monitor for COVID symptoms and seek a COVID test five to seven days after exposure — or sooner if symptoms develop.

The Health Department reminds that the most common COVID symptoms include a runny nose, congestion, a sore throat, cough, fever or loss of taste or smell. However, COVID can cause any flu-like symptoms.

It estimated 1,900-2,000 cases in Erie County for Jan. 1, with a positivity rate of about 21%.