OKLAHOMA CITY (July 24, 2020) – The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) announces the expansion of its contact tracing outreach efforts to include text messaging. This functionality will help streamline the process for contact tracers as they reach out to individuals who have been in close contact with infected individuals.
“Contact tracing is an integral component of fighting COVID-19 by breaking the chain of transmission, and we are pleased to find ways to increase efficiency as we continuously develop robust contact tracing efforts across Oklahoma,” said Deputy Commissioner of Community Health Services Keith Reed.
Oklahoma currently has 300 contact tracers and case investigators, with 160 additional staff in training. All contact tracers are trained on the new text messaging system to notify positive cases automatically as soon as their information is entered into the contact tracing system.
Contact tracing outreach efforts will now begin with text messages. This new method will enable the contacts to conveniently fill out their own contact tracing interview form, receive specific quarantine-related messaging, and acquire a letter of exclusion without ever interacting with a contact tracer. For those who do not have a cell phone or prefer to receive phone calls, there is an easy option to enroll in call monitoring rather than text monitoring.
Initial contact messages start with "Message for [Contact’s Initials].” This is to reassure the contact that the source of the message is valid without revealing the contact’s name or other private information. Contacts who prefer to receive phone calls will be called by a contact tracer from a phone number that will appear on Caller ID as 405-522-0001.
With the abundance of COVID-19 related scams, the public should be aware that these texts and calls are both trusted forms of communication from OSDH and to respond in a timely manner to help with contact tracing efforts.