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Health department using state network for contact tracing

KINGSFORD — The Dickinson-Iron District Health Department is now utilizing the Michigan Health Alert Network to notify the public of COVID-19 positive results and exposures.

This alert is a generated telephone call that will come from the phone number 1-866-998-3678.

“We recommend programming this number into your cellphone so you will know it is a message from the local health department,” said Daren Deyaert, health officer. The alert will contain information such as a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, a possible COVID-19 exposure within the community or local schools, and quarantine period duration. The alert will never contain personal health information about individuals.

The alert is programmed to continue calling your telephone every 10 minutes until you answer the call.

“It is very important that you listen to the entire message,” Deyaert said. “Please use your telephone keypad to acknowledge receipt of the message.”

Depending on the situation there will be different responses.

“These responses will let us know whether you understand the information and do not require follow-up or if you have questions and you would like to be contacted by a DIDHD employee. It is crucial that you select a response. This alert software will save considerable staff time and allow us to distribute information to the public with less delay. We appreciate your patience with this process.”

The network is being used due the overwhelming number of local cases. It will allow the department to prioritize efforts on containing potential outbreaks by continuing case investigation and contact tracing in nursing homes, hospitals, and schools as well as clusters identified in high risk congregate settings.

It remains crucial for the public to follow quarantine guidelines to contain the spread of COVID-19, officials said.

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