Maine CDC Director, Dr. Nirav Shah, says the Maine State Contract Tracing Program will end February 8.

Shah was clear that this move had nothing to do with the state's current backlog of Covid-19 tests, but was directly related to how quickly this latest strain of Covid has spread.

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Citing three major aspects of the Omicron variant (hyper contagiousness, short incubation period, and a front-loaded transmission of the virus) Shah says contract tracing has become all but an impossible task.

"We can't treat 2022's virus with 2020's tools."

While certain case investigations will continue, the practice of someone from the CDC reaching out to inform folks when they've been named as a close contact will end.

Shah says going forward, if someone tests positive for Covid-19, it will now be up to that person to contact anyone they have been around, for more than 15 minutes, as far back as 2 days BEFORE the person's symptoms started.

And from there, Shah says it's up to all of us to "do the right thing."

"The need to quarantine doesn't change."

Shah says that if an individual is notified by a friend or associate that has tested positive, and deemed a "close contact" they should absolutely still quarantine.

There was some good news to come out of Wednesday's briefing, in that Shah says there are encouraging signs in the testing of Maine's wastewater. The data seems to indicate a decline in the number of Covid-19 in the population that mirrors a decline in the number of hospitalizations across the state.

Shah did reiterate that if Maine needed to reinstitute the state's Contact Tracing program, it would. But for now, it will be up to individuals to reach out to whom they have been in contact with, and let them know.

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