State Department of Health opens contact tracing call center

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Thousands of calls and text messages are being sent from this call center every day. The goal? To investigate every COVID-19 case in the state.

“They get numbers that come in. They find out and contact that person they interview them to find out potential they might have exposed someone to,” Lance Frye, OSDH Health Commissioner said.

They then contact all of those who may have been exposed in each positive case.

“And give them instructions on how to isolate until their 14 days have passed,” Frye said.

“I have an urgent public health issue I need to discuss with you in regards to possible exposure to COVID-19,” a phone operator said.

The call center opened June 8 and employs more than 400 Oklahomans using CARES Act funding.

The State Department of Health is also using Google technology to text message those who may have been exposed.

“This allows the person to get all of this information without every having to speak to a human if they don’t have to,” Field Operation Manager for the State Department of Health Portia King said.

They have to opt in, and health officials say the information is specifically used by the tracers.

“It’s important to know in public health knowing the location of where you live, it really helps those regions know what’s the impact in their community. And that lets the other community members know what is my risk when I go outside,” King said.

Interim Health Commissioner Lance Frye says they’ll keep the call center open as long as it’s needed.

“The way we stop spread is by stopping people potentially infecting other people so if someone knows they’ve been potentially exposed then they can see isolate,” Frye said.

The Health Department says they will call you from 405-522-0001. The text messages come from different numbers but will link you to the OSDH website to fill out information. They say they will never ask for your social security number.

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