Covid 19 Contact tracking app goes live

A Covid-19 Contact tracking app has been downloaded by more than 350,000 people since it went live.

Covid 19 Contact tracking app goes live

The Department of Health and the Health Service Executive launched the app to help identify close contacts of people who test positive for the disease.

HSE Chief Executive Officer Paul Reid said said the app can mean a reduction in the time it takes to trace close contacts from days to hours.

The app identifies a close contact as someone who was within two metres of a confirmed case for 15 minutes or more.

While health officials are looking to get around a 60% uptake of the app among the target population, they say that any level of uptake will be useful.

The HSE said that while the app is an all-island application, it is not currently active in Northern Ireland.

The app is expected to facilitate contact tracing, symptom tracking and contain other information about the virus and was officially launched by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly.

Yesterday, for the second day in a row, no further deaths were reported here from Covid-19.

Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn said the situation is currently “looking good” but he also emphasised that all elements of the pandemic are being kept under constant review.

One of the ways by which the virus is tracked is by tracing close contacts of people who themselves test positive.

The Covid-19 tracker app is designed to help with both contact tracing and real-time symptom tracking.

Dr Glynn also urged anyone who has been identified as a close contact to “take up the offer of a test without delay”.

He said between mid-May to the end of June, 35% of those identified as a close contact of a confirmed case “did not take up the offer of a test” and warned “every case has the potential to turn into a cluster, which in turn has the potential to spread through a community”.

Minister Donnelly said the new app will not tell you whether you have tested positive for coronavirus.

But if you do receive a positive test result, you can give the app permission to notify those with whom you have been in close contact, so they can then avail of testing, too.

Mr Donnelly said the app will allow people to control their own data. He described it as a “very powerful tool” and said health officials will encourage as many people as possible to download it onto their phones.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, he said the technology is being used in other countries and there is no question that it works.

He said the majority of people who have smartphones will be able to use it, but it there is a limitation in the technology and it only works on the iPhone6 and Android 7 and upwards models.

Minister Donnelly described the privacy issues as “really quite impressive”.

Yesterday, the Department of Health said there were no further deaths of people who had previously been diagnosed with Covid-19. The overall death toll is 1,741.

The Department also said there was an additional four confirmed cases of the coronavirus, bringing the overall total number of cases here to 25,531.

The World Health Organization says data to date suggests 80% of Covid-19 infections are mild or asymptomatic, 15% are severe infection, requiring oxygen and 5% are critical, requiring ventilation.

Generally, you need to be 15 minutes or more in the vicinity of an infected person and within two metres of them, to be considered at-risk, or a close contact.

This news was originally published at rte.ie

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