Updated at 5:09 p.m. with additional comments.
Dallas County and Parkland Hospital have launched a pilot program for an automated coronavirus contact tracing system, officials announced Thursday.
Under the system, someone who is COVID-19 positive sends contact information for people they were in contact with during the 14 days prior to their diagnosis.
The automated contact tracing system developed by Parkland Hospital will send people daily messages for 14 days to see if they develop symptoms after being in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
County officials said the program launched Monday.
Currently, these checks are conducted over the phone. County officials said the system will help the health department "be as efficient and effective as possible."
If people who are being tracked develop coronavirus symptoms, they're directed to testing.
In late April, Gov. Greg Abbott set a goal to hire 4,000 contact tracers statewide. As of last week, there were 3,192.
Dallas County commissioners have approved hiring 260 contact tracers locally. So far, 60 have gone through the full background check process to be hired, county officials said Thursday.
Local and state officials have said contact tracing is crucial to tracking – and slowing – the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Dallas County health data shows that about 90% of all cases reported since tracking began in March have been due to community spread or close contact with someone with COVID-19.
Less than 4% of the cases are linked to long-term care facilities, and about 1% of the cases are linked to domestic or international travel.
In March, a majority of the cases were found among people over the age of 41. In June, more than 60% of the cases were found among people under the age of 40.
County Judge Clay Jenkins has urged people to wear masks whenever they go and to limit their outings.
Watch full Dallas County news conference:
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