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Toronto Public Health shifting COVID-19 contact tracing strategy due to surge

View of coronavirus test tubes at a testing location. (Photo by Niels Wenstedt/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

Toronto Public Health (TPH) said Saturday they are shifting COVID-19 tracing efforts because of the recent surge in cases of the disease.

In a series of tweets on Saturday morning, TPH said contact tracing is being prioritized on “greatest risk scenarios.”

“As part of the usual course of outbreak management, when cases reach a high volume, we must make a strategic shift and temporarily prioritize case and contact management to focus on greatest risk scenarios,” they said.

In an email to CityNews Saturday, TPH said they will continue to contact people diagnosed with COVID-19, confirm their positive lab test results, assess their signs and symptoms, and determine symptom onset.

“[We will] assess and confirm the person’s ability to safely self-isolate, and make a referral to the Toronto Voluntary Isolation Centre if they cannot isolate safely at home and provide instructions to the person to notify their high-risk contacts.”

The agency added that they will continue to investigate outbreaks and report daily COVID-19 data.

On Friday, Dr. Eileen de Villa, the city’s chief medical officer of health, called upon the province to adopt even stricter public health measures for the city.

TPH said once case numbers come down, they will return to the previous contact tracing method.

The agency said it has hired over 700 people for contact tracing since the pandemic began in March.