DHEC encourages South Carolinians to respond to legitimate COVID-19 contact tracers, avoid potential scams

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) encouraged all South Carolinians today to respond to legitimate contact tracing calls and emails from public health officials, while also remaining vigilant against potential scams.

DHEC said they have been conducting contact tracing for COVID-19 cases since the first reports in the state and that notifying people about a possible exposure is critical to stopping the spread of the virus.

Contact tracing involves both case investigations and contact monitoring.

DHEC now has more than 700 individuals trained to perform case investigations across the state that is supplemented by 230 active contact monitors.

A total of 600 contact monitors have been trained to date and will be deployed as needed.

If you test positive for COVID-19, a contact tracer from DHEC will do the following:

  • Connect you to medical care and help you find resources and support if needed.
  • Ask about places you have been and the people you have spent time with recently.
  • Make sure the information you provide is kept confidential and not shared with others. They will not ask about your immigration status nor share your information with immigration officials.
  • Call the people you recently were in close contact with and let them know they have been exposed to COVID-19. A “close contact” is someone you have been within 6 feet of for at least 15 minutes.
  • Not share your name and your personal information with any of your contacts.
  • Inform your contacts about what they need to do during the next couple of weeks to take care of themselves and others.

DHEC says that a real contact tracer would never ask you for:

  • Social Security number,
  • Money, bank account or credit card number, or
  • Immigration status.

If you’re concerned about a caller being a real DHEC official, you can verify their identity by doing one of these actions:

  • Asking them to send you an email. The email should end with @dhec.sc.gov.
  • Calling the DHEC regional epidemiology office to confirm the caller’s name and credentials.

Contact tracing participation is voluntary and confidential.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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