The Saginaw County Health Department is launching a web-based COVID-19 self-reporting app this week. Saginaw County residents will be able to confidentially provide personal information online and avoid a phone call from the health department to complete their COVID-19 case investigation.
Here is how it works:
- The app sends daily text messages from the Saginaw County Health Department to COVID-19 positive cases identified in the Michigan Disease Surveillance System.
- The text reads, “Message from mySaginawHealth: You have tested positive for COVID-19. You can avoid a call from the health department if you complete your health investigation online. Do this by visiting mysaginawhealth.org.”
- The app directs users to a quick form, which they then fill out and submit. It includes a feature allowing them to request a return-to-work/school letter if required.
- Health department staff use the information provided online to “close out” COVID-19 cases, which is a required process for infectious diseases in Michigan.
- Residents can also self-report before getting the text message. However, the health department cautions users NOT to report at-home antigen test results without a confirmatory PCR test.
- mySaginawHealth also allows users to input any close contacts they may have exposed to COVID-19 the 48 hours prior to the onset of their symptoms or positive COVID-19 test result.
- Those identified as close contacts receive a text saying, “Message from mySaginawHealth: You’ve been exposed as a close contact to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Visit mysaginawhealth.org for clarification on whether or not you need to quarantine.”
- Close contacts using the app will be connected to information about whether or not they are exempt from quarantine and outlines the precautions they should take due to their exposure.
“We hope the process is easier and less intrusive online,” explains Christina Harrington, MPH, health officer, noting that residents can be unresponsive and/or reluctant to talk over the phone. She stresses that health department staff should never be perceived as COVID-19 “enforcers” looking to get anyone in trouble for having or spreading COVID-19. “On the contrary, the health department’s role has NEVER been about that. Our jobs as public health experts are to track and monitor disease spread while guiding and educating our community about next steps to minimize the spread. We’re here to support and help one another — not punish or admonish anyone.”
For more information about the new app, visit mySaginawHealth.org.