Houston Health Department working to fix website 'glitch' that exposed patients' COVID test results

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The Houston Health Department is warning its clients after a glitch in the system exposed COVID-19 test results and their personal information.

The health department said it was made aware of the potential breach on the night of Jan. 6 and the portal was deactivated within 48 hours. According to a release from the department, the incident is not hacking-related and there is no evident of malicious intent or misuse of the data.

During that time, about 3,500 portal users potentially had access to about 10,000 COVID results, including patient names, addresses, dates of birth, email addresses, testing dates and test results.

According to a release from the department, the incident is not hack-related and there is no evidence of malicious intent or misuse of the data.

"The investigation to confirm the scope of the incident and to acquire resources for notifications took several weeks. The root cause appears to be a technical issue within the portal that erroneously linked some user accounts," the health department said in a release. "Letters are being sent to the affected individuals notifying them of the incident and providing information about free identity protection services for one year. People who receive the letters or used the portal and have questions may contact 1-833-599-2432 from 8 a.m. through 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays except for holidays. The hotline is toll-free and provides interpretation services."
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