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Delaware Headlines

DPH to contact COVID positive people through text alert messaging system

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The Delaware Division of Public Health has a new text alert messaging system for those who test positive for COVID-19.

The DPH’s Contact Tracing Team launched the system that sends a text to COVID-positive individuals, and provides guidance and recommendations through a secure web platform.

This is all before receiving a call from the DPH Contact Tracing Team.

The goal of the system is to get people to isolate quicker instead of waiting for the call for instructions. The texts come from the number 37821.

The first message lets the person know DPH has critical information for them and it asks them to reply with the date of birth, and if it matches DPH’s records the person receives a return message telling them they access messages from the contact tracing team.

Tracey Johnson is the Director of the DPH Contact Tracing Team, and she says there is some delay in processing time from test result to text.

"If someone's positive at the lab today that lab has to get to the state, and then the state has to get it to our platform," said Johnson. "So there is a day or two I believe till it gets to us. So it's not like you're going to go to the lab, get a positive test and get that right away. It's not that quick."

Johnson says the system will also provide helpful links.

"One of the links we have in there is how to get vaccinated. Do you want to get vaccinated? Here's how you get vaccinated. Do you have the COVID alert app on your phone? Here's how you download that app. Do you need resources from social services? Here's their phone number," said Johnson.

Delaware’s first COVID case was two years ago Friday, and Sunday was the two-year anniversary of the initial state of emergency declaration during the COVID pandemic.

The state is currently seeing its lowest COVID numbers since last July with the 7-day average of positive tests down to 3.2 percent and hospitalizations at 48.

This is a sample of messages you should expect to see from the DPH Contact Tracing team…

  • This is an urgent message from the Delaware Division of Public Health. We have critical information to share with you from the COVID-19 Contact Tracing Team. To receive information specific to you, reply with your date of birth.
  • You are now able to receive Delaware Contact Tracing messages and information about your situation. Please follow this link for additional guidance ___. 
  • [NAME] has been identified as someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and should isolate for at least 5 days after their symptoms first appeared or the day they were tested (if they have no symptoms) and wear a well-fitting mask for an additional 5 days when around others to minimize the risk of infecting people they encounter.
  • [NAME] may end their isolation, and the employer may allow them to return to work or may attend school only when ALL the following are true:
  • At least 5 days have passed since symptoms first appeared or the day they were tested (if they have no symptoms); AND
  • At least 24 hours have passed since recovery. This includes BOTH
  • Resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications; AND
  • Improvement in COVID-19 symptoms (cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell); AND
  • [NAME] will wear a well-fitting mask for 5 additional days when around others to minimize the risk of infecting people they encounter