VDH will begin texting people who test positive for COVID-19
Program starts immediately
Starting Thursday, the Virginia Department of Health will begin sending a text to anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 if their mobile phone number is registered in the state’s system.
The texts will automatically be sent to anyone with a positive lab test who has a valid mobile number, providing faster notification of results and allowing Virginia residents to share their results with anyone else who may have been exposed, VDH announced Thursday. Texts will come only from (804) 336-3915 and will be sent between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Messages will share a link to the COVIDWISE verification code portal, which will let recipients send test results anonymously to the state’s COVID exposure notification app. Spanish messages are also available.
Launched last year, COVIDWISE can be downloaded for free on smartphones and, if activated, will notify the user if they have been near a person who has tested positive for the virus. As of Wednesday, the app has been downloaded 978,378 times.
“Using tools like automated text messages provide additional options to help Virginia expand its existing exposure notifications and contact tracing operations without compromising user privacy or security,” State Health Commissioner Dr. Norman Oliver said in a statement. “This technology will quickly notify you if you have a positive test result and provide valuable safety information, so you can self-isolate effectively, seek timely medical attention and reduce potential exposure risk. It will also encourage you to anonymously share your results through COVIDWISE with other users who’ve likely been exposed, so you can help protect your family, friends and community.”
As of Thursday, the state’s seven-day positivity rate is 12.2%, with 493,674 COVID cases and 6,308 deaths recorded since last March. The state has administered 641,873 vaccine doses out of 1,166,600 received, VDH reported Thursday, a rate of 55%, or an average of 27,079 shots per day over the past week.