Thousands of Rhode Islanders get false close-contact alerts due to technical issue


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — If you received a text message from the R.I. Department of Health saying you were a close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 — it may have been a mistake.

Approximately 3,300 people received the false alert, according to Health Department spokesperson Joseph Wendelken.

He said the erroneous messages were the result of a technical issue that “caused new close contact notifications to go to some people who had previously been identified as close contacts.”

Follow-up messages were sent to those affected to clarify they were not close contacts. Wendelken said only those who got the clarifying message should disregard the close-contact notification.

The Health Department is working on a fix to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

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