CHARLOTTE, N.C. — If you received a text message from Mecklenburg County Public Health saying you tested positive for COVID-19, the county said it was sent due to a “technical glitch” from a vendor.
People reported receiving a text from the health department on Sept. 11 telling them that they have tested positive for COVID-19 and directing them to click on a link to take a “symptom questionnaire.”
The county originally tweeted out saying, “Public Health does not send out COVID-19 testing results via text message.” They asked people who received the text not to click the link or respond with any personal information.
But hours later, the county tweeted again saying the text messages were “sent to due to a technical glitch in the software system that has been addressed by the software provider.”
Mecklenburg County officials said they don’t alert patients that they have COVID-19 via text messages or emails.
Mecklenburg County shared more information about the COVID-19 text message with Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke.
The vendor that sent the message is HealthSpace.
The company said it was doing “routine overnight maintenance” and that a batch of COVID-19 alerts went to people who weren’t supposed to get them.
HealthSpace said it caught the glitch within 30 minutes and has taken steps to prevent that from happening again.
No personal information was shared or compromised, according to officials.
The county said more than 6,700 people got the texts and more than 540 got the emails.
Maudie McLaughlin says she and her husband tested positive for COVID-19 around the beginning of August.
“Luckily, we didn’t have any illness or no sickness,” she said.
Then, fast forward a month. Mecklenburg County Public Health sent her the text, saying she tested positive for the virus.
“I am like, ‘How can I test positive for COVID? I ain’t been having no tests [in weeks],’” she told Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke. “It was kind of scary. It makes you wonder who has a hold to your information and what’s being done with it.”
Another viewer messaged Stoogenke on Facebook. She said she had COVID-19 in May, got the text too, and was “really worried.”
Stoogenke asked the county whether everyone who got the text or email tested positive for COVID-19 at some point. He was waiting to hear back at 2 p.m. Monday.
If you have questions, contact the health department.
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