Starting June 1, people who test positive for COVID-19 will receive an automated text message from the Illinois Department of Public Health that points toward available resources.
In an announcement Monday, IDPH said “it is shifting its COVID-19 contact tracing efforts and individual case investigation telephone calls to focus on a more strategic approach of automated case notifications.”
Under the new system, people whose positive COVID-19 tests are reported in the Illinois National Electronic Surveillance System will receive a text message in English and Spanish which reads, “IDPH has important info for you: Call 312-777-1999 or visit dph.illinois.gov/covidhelp?ch=sms
Llame al 312-777-1999 o visite dph.illinois.gov/covidhelp?ch=sms”
The text message will give direct people to call an automated information line or visit a website for additional guidance on isolation, close contact notification and resource availability. According to IDPH, the automated system will direct callers to resources in English, Polish and Spanish.
The new contact tracing process will not impact investigations in congregate facilities, according to officials who say those cases “remain a top priority for local health departments and IDPH.”
Previously, when people were notified of a positive test they had a call back option from contact tracers and individual case investigations of people 65 and older.
In announcing the shift in contact tracing, state health officials cited the availability of COVID-19 vaccines, at-home testing kits and updated isolation and quarantine guidance for revising its approach from universal contact tracing and individual COVID-19 case investigations to an automated system.
The state’s contact tracing surge center, which was implemented in spring 2020 and took over the bulk of contact tracing and case investigation late last year, will cease operations May 31, according to IDPH.