As the winter surge of the Omicron variant continues, it will now be up to New Yorkers who test positive for COVID to self-quarantine and alert those they came in contact with.

I don't know if it was an uncomfortable experience at the time, but it was certainly a little odd. When I tested positive for COVID this time last year, within hours I was on the phone with the Saratoga Country health department getting details on how to properly quarantine, and then my wife was getting the same call a few minutes later on precautions she needed to take after being in the same house as me. I had no problem sharing my diagnosis as I would do the same on the radio, but all those calls seemed like a lot of legwork for those making them when we pretty much knew what we needed to do to deal with COVID in our home.

That legwork and those calls became cumbersome for many health departments, and as of Tuesday, the state of New York will no longer be requiring contact tracing by state or county health agencies according to News 10. Local departments can still make the calls if they wish, but many like in Albany and Saratoga Counties have already scaled back efforts to focus on providing other COVID and healthcare services.

One has to imagine this was a huge task, especially during the various surges like the one we are pushing through right now. One county official told News 10 all the calls created a "staggering workload."

And maybe the silver lining through all of this - is the new variant creating less of a healthcare issue to really create a need for all those calls? Let's hope so!

Answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

Vaccinations for COVID-19 began being administered in the U.S. on Dec. 14, 2020. The quick rollout came a little more than a year after the virus was first identified in November 2019. The impressive speed with which vaccines were developed has also left a lot of people with a lot of questions. The questions range from the practical—how will I get vaccinated?—to the scientific—how do these vaccines even work?

Keep reading to discover answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions.

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