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Shelby County Health Department begins text notifications for contact tracing

The Shelby County Health Department is launching case notification by text message to the public beginning Tuesday, February 2, 2021.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In order to perform more efficient and effective contact investigations for COVID-19, the Shelby County Health Department will launch an innovative, technological approach to contact tracing. The Shelby County Health Department will launch case notification by text message to the public beginning Tuesday, February 2, 2021.

While case investigations will continue to be performed by telephone, the introduction of text case notification is designed to lead to more rapid isolation and quarantine notification. Starting on February 2, anyone in Shelby County who tests positive for COVID-19 (and who has given a mobile phone number to the testing site) will receive a text from the Shelby County Health Department. Those who test negative will not receive a text. The text will also contain a link to an online case investigation/contact tracing questionnaire.

The text of the message will read: Shelby County Health Dept: Someone who tested positive for COVID-19 listed this contact number. Please have them complete this form: https://redcap.link/Shelby

If the person who tested positive (or their parent/guardian) follows the link and answers the online contact tracing questions, they will not have to do the traditional phone contact tracing interview. Additionally, after submitting the online questionnaire, each case will receive a copy of their Mandatory Isolation/Release from Isolation Letter that employers often require before an employee may return to work. The case can receive and download their isolation letter via email.

The online questionnaire will take approximately 10 minutes to complete. Like traditional phone case investigation and contact tracing interviews, the online questionnaire will ask basic questions about the person, their illness, their close contacts and the types of places where they live and work. All answers are confidential and will be used only to help keep a case’s family, friends, coworkers and community healthy.

For security reasons, it is important for citizens to note that the link from the Health Department will redirect them to a shelbycountytn.gov page. If they do not land on a shelbycountytn.gov page, the link did not come from the Health Department and should not be opened. It is also important to note that the survey from the Health Department will NOT ask for immigration status, social security number, banking information or request any kind of payment.

Anyone who receives a link claiming to be a case investigation that is believed to be a scam should contact the Health Department at (901) 222-MASK (6275).

Early Treatment for COVID-19 An effective early treatment is available for persons who test positive and have the following risk factors: Anyone over age 12 with obesity, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, or whose immunity is compromised by disease or prescription treatments.