Starting today, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) will be sending text messages to those who have been exposed to or have tested positive for COVID-19.
The text will inform the recipient that an interviewer from MDH will be calling them. The purpose of the text-and call service is to aid the effort of contact tracing COVID-19 cases. Chris Elvrum of MDH said that the text is designed to make people aware that a call will be forthcoming and urging people to answer their phone when the call comes.
“We have information and resources to share with Minnesotans, but we understand that many people are wary of answering a phone call from a number they don’t recognize,” Elvrum said. “Sending a text lets people know we’re going to call and even tells them what number to expect the call from. Adding this tool boosts our chances of slowing the spread of COVID-19 by increasing the number of people who answer the call and successfully isolate themselves.”
The message from MDH will read, “Answer the Call: State and local public health department staff will be calling you with important information about your health. Please answer the call from xxx-xxx-xxxx. This is an automated text message, please do not reply.”
Those who get the call will have case workers as them about their symptoms, people they have been in contact with and provide information preventing further spread.
Call recipients are cautioned to beware of scams. Interviewers from MDH will never ask for a Social Security number or personal financial information such as a bank account or credit card number.