D.C. ends contact tracing as pandemic concerns wane

Media Credit: File Photo by Eric Lee

The DC CAN exposure system - a cellphone alert for individuals that notifies them when they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive - will remain in effect.

Washington D.C. ended its COVID-19 contact tracing program last week after a recent uptake in take-home tests as total cases begin to wane.

The D.C. Contact Trace Force, a 151-member team that has been notifying D.C. residents of COVID-19 exposures since the onset of the pandemic, laid off 131 employees and dissolved itself due to the District’s low case numbers and a rise in take-home tests, which often go unreported. The DC CAN exposure system – a cellphone alert for individuals that notifies them when they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive – will remain in effect.

GW’s contact tracing remains active and will continue to notify close contacts to positive COVID-19 cases, according to GW’s Coronavirus Response website.

The District had a 105.7 case rate per 100,000 people as of last Thursday, according to the CDC website. D.C.’s COVID-19 community level is also listed as “low,” meaning residents can take minimal preventative measures like staying up to date with vaccines and boosters, according to the CDC website.

The University had 137 positive cases from June 27 to July 5 and an overall 5.39 percent 7-day case positivity rate, according to the GW COVID-19 dashboard.

This month, GW ended its asymptomatic testing requirement and ceased operations at the medical trailer, according to an email sent to community members. Officials said that testing will still be available at 1957 E Street, Monroe Hall and the Science and Engineering Hall.

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