Virtual Assistant YouTube Video
The Virtual Assistant is a text message-based tool developed by the California Department of Public Health and used by your local health department to slow the spread of COVID-19. This tool helps local county and city health departments reach people who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who may have been exposed, to provide resources and education and to gather important public health information through a brief survey.
If you receive a text from the phone number 23393, it's the California COVID-19 Response Team, with an important message from your local health department. It is safe to click on the link and start communicating with the Virtual Assistant. You may receive links for a contact tracing survey, answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs), resources, or the COVID-19 Symptom Monitoring Support System. You can reply STOP at any time to stop receiving messages from the Virtual Assistant. All information collected is protected and will be used exclusively for public health purposes.
Note: Even if you complete the Virtual Assistant survey, a follow-up contact tracing interview may be needed to provide further important information and support, so please answer any calls you may also receive from your local health department.
Additionally, if you have tested positive and have CA Notify activated on your cell phone, don't forget to share your results with CA Notify to quickly and anonymously alert others who may have been exposed.
Questions and Answers
What is the Virtual Assistant?
The Virtual Assistant is a text message-based tool used by your local county or city health department to quickly jump start contact tracing in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 in your community. The Virtual Assistant sends a text message from the phone number 23393 to people who have either tested positive for COVID-19 or who have been exposed to someone who tested positive. This text message contains a link specific to each person that leads to that person's Virtual Assistant Survey. The Virtual Assistant survey collects critical contact tracing information needed to stop the virus from spreading further and is designed to provide important information and directions based on each person's situation. Other resources supported by the Virtual Assistant include links to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), resources people may need to help them isolate or quarantine safely, and check-in text messages from the COVID-19 Symptom Monitoring Support System. A person can reply STOP at any time to stop receiving messages from the Virtual Assistant. Hundreds of thousands of people in California have already answered the Virtual Assistant survey, allowing their local health departments to quickly provide information, resources, and support to those affected by COVID-19.
I just received a text message from 23393 with a link. Is this link safe?
Yes. Text messages from this 5-digit phone number, 23393, come from your local county or city health department using the California Department of Public Health's Virtual Assistant technology to jumpstart COVID-19 contact tracing efforts. The links within this text message are safe. You can reply STOP at any time to stop receiving messages from the Virtual Assistant.
If I get a text from 23393, does this mean I have COVID-19?
Not necessarily. If you receive a text from the 23393 number, you may have received a positive COVID-19 test result or you may have been recently exposed to someone who tested positive. Texts from your local health department will include information about what to do next.
Will someone be contacting me after I fill out the Virtual Assistant survey?
You may still be contacted by your local health department after you fill out the survey if they determine a need to provide you with additional important information, services, or support. Please answer their call.
Is my privacy protected if I complete the Virtual Assistant survey?
Yes. Any information you share with your local health department through the Virtual Assistant will be kept confidential by California's strict public health privacy laws. The Virtual Assistant will NEVER ask for your Social Security number, income, credit card information, passwords, or immigration status. As an added protection for your privacy, the Virtual Assistant survey will first ask you a few questions to verify who you are before the remaining survey questions are asked. Please see the Virtual Assistant's Legal Policies (Terms and Conditions) for additional information.
Are there any age restrictions to completing the Virtual Assistant survey?
Currently, people must be 18 years or older to use the Virtual Assistant.