CANTON, N.Y. (WWTI) — Public health officials in St. Lawrence County are making changes to the county’s COVID-19 process.

On January 21, St. Lawrence County Public Health Interim Director Jolene Munger announced significant changes to how the county handles COVID-19 case investigations and the contact tracing process.

According to Munger, St. Lawrence County and New York State will now be prioritizing case investigation efforts on the most vulnerable populations. This includes older adults, school-aged children, daycares, nursing homes, healthcare settings and other congregate settings.

Due to these changes, not all who test positive for COVID-19, or who are directly exposed, will be called by the Health Department or New York State. However, all individuals will be contacted by the locations where they were tested with their results.

Munger said that these changes were made due to the shift in New York State policies and the high number of COVID-19 cases the county has been logging on a daily basis.

“We are seeing a higher number of new infections each day than we have seen at any time throughout the entire pandemic and staff are unable to reach all cases and contacts in a timely manner,” Munger said in a press release. “In an effort to increase the efficiency of contact tracing and our response, our department will be moving to a self-managed isolation and quarantine process.

Those who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to self-isolate. Public Health is also asking COVID-positive individuals to submit an isolation request form at the New York State Department of Health website. All, regardless of vaccination status are required to isolate for a minimum of five days.

Those who have been exposed are asked to self-quarantine and follow the Quarantine for the General Public chart to determine the length of quarantine. Individuals do not need to quarantine if they have received all COVID-19 vaccines, including booster shots or have had COVID-19 within the last 90 days.

Regardless of quarantine status, Public Health is instructing all individuals, exposed to COVID-19 should monitor for symptoms for ten days from the day of exposure, adhere to all recommended prevention measures, including washing hands, wearing a mask, immediately self-isolate if any symptoms develop and seek testing.

More information can be found on the St. Lawrence County Public Health website.