Thousands of North Carolina residents were recently told they had positive coronavirus tests, but that was a mistake.
More than 6,700 people in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina were told in a text message sent by the Mecklenburg County Health Department on Friday that they tested positive for COVID-19, and over 500 people were told via county mail that they were also infected. with the novel coronavirus. But the results were incorrect due to a technical error by Health Space, the company they use for contact tracking, according to a statement on the county’s website.
“An error during routine maintenance last Friday resulted in a county data provider sending erroneous texts and emails to people saying they were positive about COVID-1
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County Chief Dena Diorio sent an email to the County Commissioners Board Monday afternoon, which was sent to the government’s website.
“Very quickly we started working with the seller to understand the problem and make sure it did not continue. When we were corrected, we were told that 6,727 text messages and 541 emails were sent to people who were already in their system. We then worked with the seller to send a corrected text / email to anyone who received the error, “said the email in part.
Initially, the county said the messages were a scam stating in their tweet: “Public health does not send COVID-19 test results via text message. If you received a text like the one below, do not click on the link and do not reply with any private information. ”
But hours later, the county sent a tweet saying, “These texts were sent due to a technical flaw in the software system that has been addressed by the software vendor.”
The county has been using Health Space since May to help with contact tracking, Diorio told county commissioners in an email.
“During a routine maintenance overnight, there was a problem that resulted in a batch of daily COVID-19 alarms being sent to people who should not receive them. The cause of this problem was identified and remedied within 30 minutes after the first report, ”Health Space CEO Silas Garrison said in a statement.
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“We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause to citizens who are not sent a warning or inquiry,” Garrison said in the letter.
The county website said no personal information had been compromised and it took less than an hour for Health Space to correct the problem. It also stated, “Public Health does not send text messages or emails positive or negative COVID results to those affected.”
Officials at the county office said anyone who received the wrong information was contacted and told to disregard the results.