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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina health officials are clarifying precisely when they first learned that cards with the names, birthdates and primary care doctors of nearly 49,000 children receiving Medicaid benefits had been mailed to the wrong addresses.

State Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Ricky Diaz told reporters Friday the agency first learned about the massive privacy breach the prior day. On Saturday, the agency issued a statement saying some state employees had actually been aware of the issue days earlier.

Officials said Diaz had earlier been referring only to senior leaders, not the agency as a whole.

The clarification was issued after the Asheville Citizen-Times obtained a copy of an email sent Tuesday by state Medicaid eligibility chief Carolyn McClanahan informing county social services officials of the problem.

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