MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minnesota Department of Health will launch a program Monday that will text people who have tested positive for COVID-19 to let them know that a contact tracer will soon be calling.

Because of the rising COVID-19 cases in the state, it has been a “monumental task” to reach every person who has tested positive by the phone, said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm. Some people are weary of phone calls, so the text message program looks to provide more transparency about who is calling.

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“We ask all Minnesotans to do their part by answering the call, and we hope this text notification helps provide some notice and reassurance,” Malcolm said.

A sample text message will look like this:

Answer the Call: State and local public health department staff will be calling you with important information about your health. Please answer the call from xxx-xxx-xxxx. This is an automated text message, please do not reply.

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Case interviewers from MDH will gather information from those who test positive, but they can also talk to you about your symptoms, the people who you have been in contact with, and how to avoid getting other people sick.

On Friday, the state reported over 5,500 new cases of COVID-19 and 46 deaths – the second-highest daily death count seen so far.

A new COVID-19 restriction will also go into effect Friday night. Bars and restaurants will need to close between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m., and Gov. Tim Walz has put a capacity limit on weddings, funerals, and social gatherings.

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