You’ve likely heard by now about contact tracing – the process of tracking down anyone who might have been infected by a person who was recently diagnosed with a virus like COVID-19, so they can quarantine themselves and prevent further spread. Now there’s a free app to make it easier and it looks like web developers are working on more like it. We are stretching your dollar with a look.
In the past, contact tracing has been credited with slowing or stopping epidemics like Ebola and SARS. Now, it’s a tool being used to help in the current pandemic while contact tracers use a variety of methods to track down those who may have come in contact with a person infected with COVID-19.
Health officials in North Dakota have partnered with the creator of an app used to track bison to launch a new app called Care19.
Those who download Care19 will get a random ID number. The North Dakota coronavirus response website says the app will anonymously cache each user’s locations throughout the day.
If they test positive for coronavirus, the state says users will be given the opportunity to consent to provide their information to health officials to help in contact tracing and forecasting the pandemic’s progression with accurate, real-time data.
Apple and Google are developing new contact tracing technology using smartphones and Bluetooth technology to alert those who may have been close to someone infected.
But there are limitations to the new technology — users would have to opt-in and it’s not clear whether enough people will do so to make the effort worthwhile
The app is fairly new and is now gaining traction nationwide. However, it looks like this is only the start of many ways to simplify contact tracing down the road. It’s easy enough for us to download and help out as these programs become more popular.