Health departments urge residents to answer the phone; may be about coronavirus tracing

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Posted at 8:44 AM, Apr 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-28 13:19:16-04

(WXYZ) — The Macomb County Health Department is urging people to answer their phones, even if they don't recognize the number, because it could be about the coronavirus.

The county and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services are reaching out to county residents and other Michiganders who have tested positive for COVID-19, as well as contacts of those people.

The purpose of the calls is to check on the health status, provide information about COVID-19 and actions people should be taking, help locate sevices and track the spread.

“We have all been conditioned to avoid answering the phone if we do not recognize the number of the person calling, but during this time, a call from your local health department could be someone offering you important information regarding your health,” said William Ridella, director/health officer of the Macomb County Health Department, “We ask Macomb County residents to please answer these calls and return voicemails from the Health Department or the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.”

Calls may be from an area code where residents typically do not receive calls from – including the 517 area code.

To keep information confidential, the department has to speak directly with impacted residents.

They are warning people to be on alert for scammers spoofing numbers from local health departments. Spoofing appears as if the caller is calling from a recognizable phone number.

The Macomb County Health Department and MDHHS will not: offer medication for treatment or prevention of COVID-19; ask for Medicaid or other insurance information for billing purposes; or request personal financial information such as a social security number or driver’s license number.

Questions that will be asked by the Macomb County Health Department include: current health status; symptoms they may be experiencing; individuals they have been in contact with; places they have been in recent days; and other health-related questions.

If you are concerned about a call you received from any local health department or MDHHS, please contact the Macomb County Health Department Helpline at 586-463-3750. The Helpline is open 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday. If you need further assistance, contact the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 Hotline which is open seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. at 888-535-6136. You can also send an email to for assistance.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

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Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

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