Contact tracing suspended in Toronto as new cases overwhelm teams

Oct 3 2020, 12:36 pm

Toronto Public Health is temporarily suspending contact tracing as their teams become overwhelmed by a surge of new cases, leaving newly-positive coronavirus patients to notify their own close contacts.

Toronto has the largest team of contact tracers in the country with 700 staff, but they can’t keep up as as more and more cases are identified in the city.

“This is a temporary measure in response to very high case counts,” a Toronto Public Health spokesperson told Daily Hive.

Public health staff will still notify people of their test results, assess their symptoms to determine symptom onset, and make sure they can self-isolate effectively. But instead of notifying each patient’s close contacts, staff will now instruct patients to call the people they’ve socialized with themselves.

Contact tracers will still work to notify people connected to an outbreak.

Contact tracing will resume in Toronto when new case numbers come down again, the health authority said in a tweet.

Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, is asking the province to implement tougher coronavirus control measures to bring the spread under control.

In an open letter to Ontario’s Ministry of Health, the recommends forbidding indoor dining for parties who don’t live in the same household, halting group fitness classes, and bringing down capacity at large venues.

Megan DevlinMegan Devlin

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