IROQUOIS COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — Officials at the Iroquois County Public Health Department (ICPHD) said they have been recently notified by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) about several changes to contact tracing.
According to officials, IDPH will centralize case investigation and contact tracing to the state Surge Center. Starting Tuesday, all positive cases will receive an automated text message that states the following: “IDPH COVID: There is important info for you. Call 312-777-1999 or click: https://dph.illinois.gov/covid19/community-guidance/confirmed-or-possible-covid-19.html.“
“We are seeing a higher number of new infections each day than we have seen at any time throughout the entire pandemic,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “In an effort to reduce the burden on the local health departments, the state will notify cases via text about interviewing with a contact tracer, as well as providing a link to guidance on quarantine, possible treatments and close contact notification. There have been scams associated with COVID-19 and contact tracing so I want people to know that IDPH COVID will be issuing text messages to newly identified cases.”
IDPH officials said individuals who call the number in the text will be considered as “opting in” for an interview. Public health officials will prioritize case investigations for individuals who are 65 years and older and are at higher risk of severe illness, per recommendations from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These individuals will get an additional text message if the initial message does not result in a response. Previously, COVID patients got daily e-mail surveys from IDPH.
If someone has tested positive and they have not received a call or text message, they can call 312-777-1999.
While most confirmed cases will be traced through the State Contact Tracing Surge Center, local health departments will continue to respond to cases in high-risk settings, including congregate facilities. Local health departments will also be able to see details about cases so they can identify any potential clusters or outbreaks and can request those cases be transferred from the Surge Center for further contact tracing.