OKLAHOMA CITY (June 1, 2020) – In light of increased contact tracing efforts in the state, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) released today a Contact Tracing Overview document to inform the public on what to expect when contacted by a health department contact tracer.
Contact tracing is a method aimed at reducing the spread of an infectious disease like COVID-19 and involves public health department employees contacting people who have tested positive for the disease. Contact tracers ask questions to find out who may have been in contact with the COVID-19 patient in order to provide symptom checking, testing information and quarantine guidance when needed. An overview of contact tracing can be found here. An informational video can also be viewed below.
“Testing and contact tracing are key elements in the ongoing fight to limit the spread of COVID-19,” Interim Health Commissioner Lance Frye said. “Through public-private partnerships that include trained professionals from the Oklahoma National Guard, the University of Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State University, we are pleased to have quickly grown our state’s contact tracing team to nearly 600 individuals.”
Trained contact tracers working on behalf of state and county health departments begin most investigations with a phone call and are required to follow all scripts, policies and procedures provided by the OSDH. Other forms of communication, including text messages, email, social media, and in-person contact are used if the initial calls are not successful.
The OSDH urges people to be aware that the State's contact tracers will never request personal information, such as a social security number, bank account, or credit card number, nor will they send emails or texts requesting a click on a link or an attachment.
People who think they may have received a fraudulent text or other communication from someone posing as public health official should immediately contact the Oklahoma State Department of Health at (405) 271-5600.