IDPH Begins Centralizing COVID Contact Tracing Efforts

By Benjamin Cox on December 30, 2021 at 10:01am

The Illinois Department of Public Health is centralizing COVID-19 contact tracing to get information about isolation and close contacts to infected people faster amid an increase in COVID-19 cases across the country.

Starting Tuesday, all positive cases entered into the state’s data systems associated with a cell phone number will get an automated text message from IDPH.

The initial outgoing text will read: IDPH COVID: There is important info for you. Call 312-777-1999 followed by a link.

People who call the number in the text will be considered as “opting in” for an interview. Public health officials will prioritize case investigations for people who are 65 years and older and are at higher risk of severe illness, per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations.

As we reported last week, most confirmed positive cases will now be traced through the State Contact Tracing Surge Center. Local health departments, according to IDPH, will continue to respond to cases in high-risk settings, including congregate facilities.

Local health departments will also continue to have oversight of schools and daycares, including assistance with mitigation strategies and outbreak management.