Cell Phone Alerts Aim To Combat “Mass” COVID-19 Spread

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This week, 63 Massachusetts communities have been deemed high risk for COVID-19, and state agencies are using telecommunications to remind residents to remain “on guard against the virus,” reported Boston.com. Beginning on Monday, October 19, the Massachusetts COVID Enforcement and Intervention Team and COVID-19 Command Center started sending out emergency alerts to cell phones in high-risk communities. 

“The purpose of this messaging tool is to help residents remain vigilant,” Tory Mazzola, a spokesperson for the Command Center, said in a statement. “We cannot let our guard down because our actions — wearing a mask or stopping gatherings with extended family and friends, for instance — can save lives and stop the spread.”

The high-risk communities included in the initial communications, which were sent in both English and Spanish, included Chelsea, Everett, Framingham, Lawrence, Lynn, Nantucket, New Bedford, Revere, Winthrop, and Worcester. According to the state, phones in nearby communities may also receive alerts due to cell tower locations.

Mazzola added that because the COVID-19 alert system can reach every cell phone in a designated area, sending alerts regarding the virus’s risk will help “get people’s attention.” It will also remind them of the measures needed to prevent the spread and disseminate ways to get more information. 

The first alert distributed between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Monday and utilized the following template:

MAGovt Alert COVID19 is a serious threat in [city/town name]. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Do not share food drinks utensils. Stay home if sick. Get a free COVID test. Stop gatherings with family and friends. Protect you and your loved ones. For more info visit mass.gov/stopcovid19

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