Wisconsin DHS announces new texting notification system for COVID-19 exposure


FILE – In this Aug. 11, 2019, file photo, a man uses a cellphone in New Orleans. Most Americans don’t believe that their personal information is secure online and aren’t satisfied with the federal government’s efforts to protect it, according to a new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and MeriTalk. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)

(WFRV)- In new efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic and assist in lowering transmission rates, Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services (DHS) announces a new notification system.

This new system will allow citizens to not only become informed of their exposure to COVID-19 but also inform the people they are closest with as well.

The news of the system was shared on Monday, October 4. Officials explain that an individual who came in close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus will be sent either a text or email. Once that individual has been made aware of this news, contact tracers will then ask for additional information to help inform the people closest to them.

Individuals will be asked for people they have been in recent contact with so tracers can send them a message. That message, the release explains, will come from (844) 939-2782 and the message will contain the following:

Health Alert: You have been identified as a close contact to COVID-19. Follow this link for more information https://wedss.wisconsin.gov/self-reporting/#/form/abR_R-PgQMC78gbifjr-EQ … Education for close contacts https://wedss.wisconsin.gov/self-reporting/content/education_for_close_contacts.pdf

State Governor Tony Evers commented in the release the importance of utilizing digital communications to help with contact tracing in order to lower transmission rates. Saying, “as COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin rise… we need to find more ways to get information to folks as quickly as we can.”

Now the State’s DHS also wants to clarify that this system is different from the “Wisconsin Exposure Notification App” which transmits information with other phones around you and if you are near a phone of someone who has tested positive for the virus, you will be alerted.

DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake expressed her thoughts on the power of educating oneself on proper procedures when learning of their COVID-19 exposure. Saying, “By understanding quarantine and testing guidance based on our own unique situations, we can make informed decisions and best protect ourselves and others around us.”

The Wisconsin DHS of course wants to urge all citizens to get the vaccine for COVID-19, remembering to wear a face-covering in close quarters, and if you believe you are feeling under the weather to stay home. Information on the latest state’s virus numbers can be found on Local Five’s website.

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