Assurance Maladie in France now emailing Covid contacts

Emails are sent to validated email accounts registered on the Assurance Maladie website, but calls are still being used in some cases

28 October 2020
By Hannah Thompson

The Assurance Maladie in France is now using emails to message contacts of confirmed Covid-19 cases, as it takes less time, and requires fewer staff than the initial phone call system. We explain how it works.

If you have recently spent time with someone who has been confirmed as Covid-19 positive, you will probably be considered a “contact case”. However, a new system means that you should not wait to receive a phone call specifically before taking your own test or self-isolating.

Since October 15, the Assurance Maladie has “systematised” its contact process, using a “paperless procedure”, which it says allows it to contact people more quickly, and requires fewer staff to carry out.

The Assurance Maladie website Ameli explains: “The current levels of the virus spread have led the Assurance Maladie to roll out new methods of contact, to continue to inform the biggest number of people as quickly as possible on their Covid-19 status.”

Who counts as a contact?

Someone who has spent time with a person who has since been officially diagnosed with Covid-19 via a test, whether or not you were wearing a mask or taking other precautions.

This includes people who live together, or those who have been in direct contact with the person for at least 15 minutes, and within 1-2 metres of them - such as having a conversation, hugging, kissing, having a drink or dinner with them, or attending the same indoors event.

It also includes pupils or teachers who are in the same class or teaching a class in which a pupil has been confirmed as Covid-19 positive.

Anyone who tests positive is encouraged to provide a list of anyone they have been in contact with over the past few days, to allow them to be contacted.

How are contact cases contacted?

Once someone has been identified as a contact case, they should receive an email from the Assurance Maladie, to the email address that is registered to their Ameli account (their Assurance Maladie account).

Ameli explains: ”There are more than 33 million people signed up to Ameli with a validated email address, which allows us to contact them with messages about ‘contact tracing’.”

The email will invite the contact to log in to their Ameli messaging area to find “all the useful information”, such as their contact status, rules to follow when it comes to getting their own test, self-isolating, or stopping work; and which number to call if they have any questions.”

What if people do not check their email account or see the message?

Ameli said: “These emails are backed up with a text message informing people that they have received an email [and should check it].”

As a last resort, contacts who have not read their email or logged in to the Ameli message area within 24 hours will be called by telephone by contact tracing workers.

Will anyone receive a phone call first?

In some areas of the country - those that are seeing especially high cases of Covid-19 - phone calls are still being used in the first instance to alert contacts.

Philippe Claussin, director of the Gironde department of la Caisse primaire of the Assurance Maladie told news website 20 Minutes: “96% of contact cases are called within four hours of a positive test result coming back.”

Covid-19 in France: Latest update

The latest figures from Santé publique France (October 27) show:

  • 33,417 new cases in the past 24 hours
  • 292 more deaths in the past 24 hours
  • 14,110 new hospitalisations over the past seven days including 2,057 intensive care admissions
  • 18.4% level of positivity of tests
  • 2,448 clusters under investigation, with 210 more in the past 24 hours

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