CANTON — Starting June 30, the St. Lawrence County Public Health Department will stop contacting people who test positive for the coronavirus.
“This is the next step in transitioning toward an endemic phase of the pandemic for us,” said Jolene F. Munger, public health director.
According to a press release from the department, people will still be notified of a positive test result by the testing site, but will no longer receive a phone call from a county case investigator.
ms. Munger said the phone calls were made by nurses employed by state contracts to help with COVID-19 issues in the county. Those contracts are expiring June 30, which is why the phone calls will end.
“After June 30,” Ms. Munger said, “we won’t have the staff to continue with case investigations, and the last few months the state has been moving towards an approach centered around personal responsibility as we shift from a pandemic to an endemic.”
“Those nurses have been an invaluable resource for us,” she added, “so we will be sorry to see them leave.”
Besides doing case investigations, Ms. Munger said the nurses also helped check on hospitalized patients, answer phones, acted as liaisons to local schools and helped with data management.
When the nurses leave, she said these other responsibilities will fall back to public health staff, except for the case investigations.
She said there are instructions on the department’s website for those who test positive, but suggested contacting primary care providers for treatment.
“There are different treatments out now that we can’t authorize, and they might recommend different treatments, so you should contact your primary care provider when you test positive,” Ms. Munger said.
The department is asking people to report positive home tests using the form found online at wdt.me/HomeTestForm. Those unable to fill out the online form may call public health at 315-386-2325.
ms. Munger said the St. Lawrence County Board of Health is considering moving to monthly reporting on COVID-19 statistics, as opposed to weekly.
“The biggest thing to remember is that COVID is still an infectious disease, and it’s still out there, so if anybody has symptoms they should still be testing,” she said.
As of June 20, there were 81 active cases in St. Lawrence County, with eight people hospitalized. There have been 198 COVID deaths in the county since the start of the pandemic.