Health staffers calling COVID-19 patients, close contacts


LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Health officials are reaching out to people who tested positive for COVID-19 and their close contacts.

Public health staffers call to check on their health, provide information, tell them actions to take, guide them to resources and track the spread of COVID-19 in the community, the state said.

Officials note the calls come from area codes they are not familiar with, including the 517 area code.

“We recognize many people do not like to answer the phone if they don’t recognize the number, but during this time this call could be someone offering you important information regarding your health,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health, said in a written statement. “We ask Michiganders to please answer these calls and return voicemails from the local health departments or the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.”

But officials are warning to be alert to scammers spoofing numbers to make it appear it’s coming from local health departments.

“We won’t ask for anything like bank information or Social Security numbers, but we will ask you about your symptoms and where you’ve been so that we can protect you and others,” Khaldun said at a Wednesday afternoon press conference with the governor.

Public health staffers will not offer medication for COVID-19 treatment or prevention, ask for insurance information for billing purposes or request personal financial information like social security or driver’s license numbers

Officials say questions that will be asked include current health status, symptoms, folks they have been in contact with, recently visited places and other health-related questions.

If you are concerned about a call you received from health officials, contact the COVID-19 hotline at 888.535.6136.

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