PHOENIX (May 22, 2020)—Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) has now added text messaging to its toolbox to inform COVID-19-positive Maricopa County residents about what they need to do to take care of themselves and reduce the spread of disease.
People living in Maricopa County who test positive for COVID-19 can now expect a text message from Public Health that will share three things:
- A link to a secure form that will gather initial information and provide infection control guidance
- A phone number to a hotline with medical professionals who can answer questions
- A webpage where residents can verify the text, phone number and link are from MCDPH
This text will come once Public Health is notified of their positive diagnostic (PCR or antigen) test result. Within a few days, a disease investigator will call the person to conduct a thorough interview to learn about their illness and provide more guidance on when to get medical care and how to prevent spread to household contacts and others. The interview will also uncover who may have been exposed, so that contact tracers can follow up with those individuals to advise them of the exposure, what symptoms they need to watch for, when to get tested and how to avoid infecting others.
“News like this can be concerning, and by reaching out via text, we can give our residents detailed information quickly right after they are diagnosed,” said Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director for disease control at MCDPH. “In addition, if cases provide basic information to Public Health up front through the form, this will speed up the investigation of their case and help our investigators reach more people in a shorter time,” Dr. Sunenshine added.
The webpage recipients can use to verify the text is a short, easy-to-remember URL in case people feel safer typing it into a browser instead of clicking it. The webpage includes what to expect from the secure form, how to tell if the link is really from Public Health, and how the information they get will help them.
“We want people to get accurate information promptly, and part of that includes making sure they feel comfortable using the links we provide them,” said Dr. Sunenshine.
Watch the video clip on Public Health’s text-based system to contact COVID-19 cases>
Maricopa County Public Health recommends basic precautions for all Maricopa County residents:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Maintain at least six feet of distance between yourself and others when going out in public.
- If six feet of distance is not possible, consider wearing a cloth face covering.
- Stay home and away from others if you are sick.
Maricopa County residents with other questions about COVID-19 can visit Maricopa.gov/COVID19 for information on everything from symptoms to watch for, to how to protect the people around you, to local data.