RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Many Virginians who tested positive for COVID-19 throughout the pandemic were contacted by the Virginia Department of Health who then worked to notify their close contacts. Now they are stopping those efforts and adjusting their response to the virus.

According to a VDH release, the omicron variant is spreading so quickly that the department of health can no longer track every single case. The spike in cases has put a strain on Virginia’s health care system.

Through December and into mid-January, Virginia’s COVID-19 cases hit their largest peak so far. There were 26,175 cases reported on Jan. 8 alone.

VDH data shows that as of Tuesday, the Commonwealth has seen more than 1.49 million cases.

Throughout the pandemic, VDH said they have investigated 750,000 COVID-19 cases and notified more than 400,000 close contacts.

VDH said they will be focusing their response to COVID-19 on outbreaks in congregate settings, healthcare settings and other high-risk settings. As for schools, which are seeing major changes to masking rules, VDH said they will keep helping them with COVID prevention strategies.

If you do become sick, going forward VDH says people should notify their contacts, stay home while infectious and get tested for COVID-19. People can continue using the COVIDWISE app as a tool to notify close contacts that they have tested positive.

According to VDH, many vaccinated people who have gotten infected by the omicron variant have reported mild illnesses. However, that does not erase the potential for more severe cases. Virginia’s 7-day moving average for COVID-19 deaths is 25.7 people.

In order to prevent illness or hospitalization, people are encouraged to get vaccinated against COVID-19, including their booster shot.

VDH stated in the release, “Do it for yourself, your family, and your community, including the health care workers we depend on to be there when we truly need emergency care.”