CCHD Begins COVID Text Service

By Benjamin Cox on May 5, 2020 at 1:13pm

The Cass County Health Department is currently having trouble keeping up contact tracing on all of the cases of COVID-19 in the county. Public Health Coordinator for Cass County, Andrew English says, in response, the Health Department announced a new text message service that allows contacts of COVID-19 patients to fill out a daily survey to report symptoms that may be related to the virus. “We are quickly finding out how large of a process and how time consuming the contact tracing is that we are needing to do as a result of increasing COVID-19 results in Cass County. This will allow us to send out a daily text to the contacts of positive cases in Cass County. Really what we are wanting to do every day is just make sure that if people are experiencing or developing any kind of symptoms that we can get them in for testing right away. We also wanting to find out if there is any need for any other supportive services.”

English says the supportive services involve ensuring food and utility security as well mental health services. “We are hoping to achieve freeing up a few more of our staff’s time. We have a lot of staff that’s spending all day on the phones trying to reach out to people, which we are happy to do; but we are also trying to manage incoming cases at the same time. It’s just really important that we are efficient in what we are doing right now, and for people that can use the text service to fill out daily symptom logs. It does free up our time to doing other things that are COVID related that would benefit our community.”

English says that the uptick in cases can partially be attributed to the availability of testing. English says the drive up testing in Beardstown and increased testing capacity at the Virginia center have helped the health department see how the virus has spread in Cass County. “We’ve been able to identify more positive cases, which is really important part of identifying and isolating cases of COVID-19. When it comes to testing, the more – the better. We get a more complete picture of what’s going on in the community.”

The text messaging service for positive cases is available in English, French, or Spanish based on the preference of the individual being monitored. Contacts are not asked for any personal information in the survey, and location services on mobile devices are not used in any way for these surveys. Contacts will continue to receive an initial phone call to notify them that they have been listed as a contact, and will receive instructions on how to complete the survey. Daily phone calls will still be an option for those who opt out of the service. For questions about the service or any COVID-19 related information, you can call the Cass County Health Department in Virginia at 217-452-3057 or the Beardstown location at 217-323-2182 or visit their website at