This week, the HSE has released Covid tracker app and is encouraging everyone in Ireland to download it.
It can be a little confusing to figure out exactly what the app is and how it works. Of course, you’ll be familiar with the Coronavirus at this stage and understand that we all have to play our part to help fight the issue. You can do this by wearing a facemask in public and where it’s hard to stay 2 metres apart from others. You can also keep washing your hands really well and carry hand sanitizer too.
This Covid tracker app is the newest way to help fight the virus. Like most apps, you can download it for free in your app store.
Here’s everything you need to know:
How do you use it?
The first time you use it, you’ll fill in your age group, sex and which county you live in. It won’t ask you anything more personal than that.
Each day you can check-in and log how you’re feeling, you have two options:
- ‘I’m good, no symptoms’.
- ‘I’m not feeling well today’.
If you pick: ‘I’m good, no symptoms’ then that’s it for the day!
But, if you choose ‘I’m not feeling well today’, you’ll be asked if you have any of these symptoms.
- lost or changed sense of taste or smell
Then, depending on what you click, the app will give you some advice. In some cases, the advice will depend on your age.
The app will keep a record of your daily check-ins for 28 days so that you can review them. It’s useful to have a record if you are talking to your doctor or test positive for coronavirus.
How will it help to get rid of the virus?
The app is part of the contact tracing operation. Contact tracing is where people who have been near people with Covid can be told so that they can take measures to stop it spreading further. For example, if you have the virus, you would call everyone you spent time with lately to inform them, which is why you should keep that number small!
The app does contact tracing by using Bluetooth and anonymous IDs to log:
-any phone you are in close contact with that also has the app
-the distance between your phone and another app users’ phone
-the length of time your phone is near another app users’ phone
-Every 2 hours the app downloads a list of anonymous IDs. These have been shared with the HSE by other people using the app who have tested positive for coronavirus.
If you have been closer than 2 metres for more than 15 minutes with any of these phones you’ll get an alert that you are a close contact.
Contact tracing finds people who may be at risk from coronavirus because they were in close contact with someone who has the virus. Via the app, you can be alerted and advised on what action to take to protect yourself and others.
What does it do?
With your check-ins,
- It will alert you if you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus
- It will advise you on what to do to protect yourself and others
- It will also alert other app users that you were in close contact with, if you test positive for coronavirus
This means that less people will be walking around, heading to shops and socializing while they have the virus but just don’t know yet.
The HSE has said it will not ask for precise details about your age or where you live. You can choose to share the information or not. No one will ever know your personal details unless you choose to share them. This includes the HSE. So they won’t know your name, who you met, what locations you were in or who tested positive for coronavirus. It is just a way to stop anyone who was near someone with the virus from spreading it further.
We can all do our part to help stop the spread of the virus, and young people often socialize more than other groups and see more of their friends so it’s really important to take measures to not be part of the spread.