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COVID-19 positive? Get notified by text message

If you test positive for COVID-19, the state health department can send you a text message to speed up the notification process.

Starting Jan. 28, the Virginia Health Department began sending a series of text messages to people who test positive for COVID-19 in Virginia.

The text messages are automatic when the state department of health receives any positive COVID-19 laboratory test result that is registered with a valid mobile phone number. It will provide quick notification and encourage people to quarantine themselves. The texts will come from the following number, 804-336-3915, and will only be sent between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

The messaging, which is also available in Spanish, will provide a link to the new COVIDWISE verification code portal, which allows those who test positive to get a self-verification code and let them anonymously put in their test result through COVIDWISE, the state’s free COVID-19 exposure notifications app. The verification codes only allow the reporting of valid positive COVID-19 tests.

“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,” said Dr. Norman Oliver, state health commissioner, 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.”

For more about COVIDWISE or to download the app, go to www.covidwise.org.