Washington DOH will send texts about COVID-19 exposure, test results

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) is taking new measures to limit coronavirus exposure and community spread throughout the state.

In a news release sent late on Monday morning, the DOH announced that people testing positive for COVID-19 in Washington state will receive text messages with a verification code. By doing this, the Washington DOH hopes to expedite the time in which WA Notify users are alerted to possible coronavirus exposure.

Individual testing centers will proceed as usual with their coronavirus testing protocols. However, the state will send an additional text that will allow them to anonymously alert people they’ve come into contact with that they received a positive test result.

If you receive a positive test and a subsequent test but don’t subscribe to the WA Notify app, you can either sign up or disregard the text and move along.

RELATED: ‘WA Notify to help minimize the spread of COVID-19 while protecting users privacy,’ says UW president

As the Deputy Secretary for COVID-19 response with the Washington DOH, Lacy Fehrenbach has seen the impact of this Notify WA app firsthand.

“Adoption of exposure notification technology has been strong in Washington state, so I’m pleased we’re able to make this improvement to get verification codes to WA Notify users faster,” Fehrenbach said. “The earlier someone is notified of a possible exposure, the more quickly they can take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and potentially save lives.”

According to the release, approx. 1.66 million people have activated WA Notify services on their phones. Users can opt-out of the WA Notify program at any time. Its privacy-preserving technology was developed by both Google and Apple to ensure maximum security when using this tool.

RELATED: Gov. Inslee speaks about COVID-19 exposure tool ‘WA Notify’

RELATED: Schweitzer halts twilight skiing due to ‘overwhelming’ lack of face mask compliance, verbal abuse