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Phony letter claims Merced County residents testing positive for COVID-19 could lose children
Merced County

Officials want the public to know that a letter circulating in Merced County telling residents who get some type of government assistance that they must be tested for COVID-19 and risk losing their children if they test positive is fake.

The letter purports to be from the California Department of Social Services. It states anyone getting state benefits, including CalFresh and MediCal, must submit to a coronavirus test. The letter goes on to state that refusal to do so could result in a suspension of benefits.

The letter finishes with the statement that if someone tests positive for COVID-19, his or her children may be removed from the home and placed into foster care.

“Merced County and the State have confirmed this letter to be counterfeit,” Merced County officials said in a Facebook post. “If you see the letter on social media, please disregard it. Should you have any questions regarding social services or child welfare, please contact the Merced County Human Services Agency child welfare hotline at 209-385-3104.”

If you have information about the source of the letter, please contact CDSS at (916) 651-8848 or