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Chicago develops app to communicate directly with those who may be Covid-19 positive

As well as provide important information and guidance, the Chi Covid Coach could also help with the city’s forward-looking strategy to develop a registry for a future vaccine.

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The app will also help Chicago in its steps to prepare for mass vaccination in the future
The app will also help Chicago in its steps to prepare for mass vaccination in the future

The city of Chicago has launched a mobile app to allow the Department of Public Health (CDPH) to communicate directly with Chicago residents who may be Covid-19 positive or experiencing symptoms and provide them with information and guidance.

 

The mobile-friendly, web-based app was built in partnership with Google and software and systems developer MTX. Dr Allison Arwady, commissioner of the CDPH, describes it as a another “important data-driven” step in response to the pandemic.

 

Google Cloud

 

Chi Covid Coach was built on the Google Cloud which allows CDPH to make adaptations and changes over the course of the pandemic. Registration for the app is free and information will be protected and only used by CDPH for public health purposes related to Covid-19.

 

“Whether it is data or technology, we are using all of the tools we have available to inform our decisions and further expand our citywide response to this pandemic,” said Chicago mayor, Lori Lightfoot.

“This app will not only allow us to have a direct line with those we may not otherwise be able to communicate with, it will allow our department to start planning for the future and the next phase of the response to Covid-19.”

The app will allow CDPH to communicate directly with residents in real-time to answer questions about their symptoms and determine if they need medical attention. It will also allow the city to build upon its forward-looking strategy by developing a city registry for a future vaccine.

 

Though a vaccine may be many months away, CDPH is already taking steps to prepare for mass vaccination. Because of this, everyone is encouraged to sign up, whether they have symptoms or not.

 

“This app will not only allow us to have a direct line with those we may not otherwise be able to communicate with, it will allow our department to start planning for the future and the next phase of the response to Covid-19,” added Dr Arwady.

 

Chi Covid Coach will:

  • provide text messages to registered users that are tailored to their symptoms, and guidance about where and when to seek medical care
  • alert registrants when and where Covid-19 testing – and down the line, approved antibody testing – is available
  • allow for daily check-ins to monitor the wellbeing of residents and let them know what they and other people in their household should do to limit the spread of Covid-19.

With widespread use, Chi Covid Coach will assist in the collection process of valuable data about the virus’ spread, as well as information about who is seeking care and getting tested. Operating with informed consent, this app will gather information from residents concerning demographics and symptoms, and with that data, CDPH will be able to better understand population health trends, which is crucial to better understanding the virus.

 

Latest data

 

The city recently released new data reinforcing the effectiveness of social distancing and drawing a correlation between compliance with the state’s Stay-at-Home order and the flattening of the Covid-19 curve in Chicago.

 

In a statement, it said the data showed a slowing rate of increase in total cases in Chicago, which includes new case-level analysis gathered over the past month signalling “great improvement” in the time it is taking for the number of cases to double. Just one month ago, cases in Chicago were doubling every two- to three days and it reports now they are doubling about only every 18 days.

 

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