Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Massachusetts Launches COVID-19 Text Message Notification System

Text “COVIDMA” to 888-777 for Important Updates

BOSTON (March 24, 2020) – The Baker-Polito Administration today announced the launch of a new text-based notification system to deliver important information about the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 response to Massachusetts residents.

“Throughout this outbreak, we have consistently reminded our residents to get their information from trusted sources. Today we’re making that easier,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “With the addition of this new communication tool, we’re making it easier for everyone to stay informed about state actions and important announcements related to COVID-19.”

The new messaging tool called “AlertsMA” will allow residents to subscribe to real-time notifications by texting the keyword COVIDMA to 888-777. After signing up, state and public health officials can send short messages and links to information directly to a resident’s cell phone or other mobile device.

“Being well-informed during this public health emergency, and following health officials’ advice, can help us to slow and eventually stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders, the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 Command Center Director. “Staying connected with our residents is a central part of our response.”

The AlertsMA notifications can be used to share news, prevention information, and help connect residents to information that they are looking for through other public information channels, such as the state’s Information line, 2-1-1, and website searches on Mass.Gov.

The Commonwealth’s Executive Office of Technology Services and Security partnered with Everbridge, whose platform powers AlertsMA, to bring the notification service online during the COVID-19 response. Everbridge is a Massachusetts-based company located in Burlington. The company’s notification service is assisting the public health response around the country, including New York City, San Francisco, and Houston.

“During this public health emergency, it is increasingly important that we leverage technology to enhance our ability to communicate with the residents and businesses of the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Technology Services and Security Curtis M. Wood. “This text message notification service is a tool that reaches people in the easiest way possible – on their mobile devices – to keep them informed on the latest updates from the Commonwealth.

“Statewide public notification systems like AlertsMA will keep people safe and businesses running when critical events occur,” said David Meredith, CEO of Burlington-based Everbridge. “With our headquarters here in Massachusetts, Everbridge proudly serves the Commonwealth as their statewide mass notification provider, keeping citizens informed during COVID-19. We would like to thank the Governor and the State for their continued prioritization on emergency readiness, response and communications.”

The Commonwealth will promote the service on Mass.gov, through digital displays and billboards at the MBTA, via MassDOT, and through social media.