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Keep everyone safe with COVIDSafe app

Thursday 2 July 2020

News_Keep everyone safe with COVIDSafe app
News_Keep everyone safe with COVIDSafe app

A rural health service is encouraging residents and visitors alike to download the COVIDSafe app.

We’ve been very lucky here in the Central West to have recorded no cases of COVID-19 to date,’’ Central West Hospital and Health Service Executive Director of Medical Services Dr David Walker said.

“While we welcome the easing of travel restrictions within Queensland and look forward to the return of visitors and tourists, we are also mindful that if our region does record a case of COVID-19, it will more than likely be brought in from outside,’’ he said.

“With the recent spike in community transmitted cases in Victoria, we have seen health authorities there struggle to identify and track down all the hundreds of potential contacts of diagnosed cases because of a low take-up of the COVIDSafe app amongst affected people.

“Tracking down potential contacts of a confirmed case in a rural area like ours, where vast distances and extensive travel are normal, would be even harder.

“That’s why we are keen to get the message across to all our potential visitors, and also our residents, of the importance of downloading the app.

“With the app in place it will help us immensely in identifying and tracking down people who may have had a meaningful level of contact with a case, should we have one in our region.’’

Dr Walker said COVIDSafe recognised other devices that had the app installed and Bluetooth enabled.

“When the app recognises another user, it notes the date, time, distance and duration of the contact and the other user’s reference code,’’ he said.

“The COVIDSafe app does not collect your location.

“To be effective, you should have the COVIDSafe app running and Bluetooth enabled as you go about your daily business and come into contact with people. Users will receive daily notifications to ensure the COVIDSafe app is running.

“The information is encrypted and that encrypted identifier is stored securely on your phone. Not even you can access it.’’

Dr Walker said the contact information stored in people’s mobiles was deleted on a 21-day rolling cycle.

“This takes into account the COVID-19 incubation period and the time it takes to get tested,’’ he said.

“When someone is diagnosed with COVID-19, health officials will ask them or their parent/guardian who they have been in contact with.

“If they have the COVIDSafe app and provide their permission, the encrypted contact information from the app will be uploaded to a highly secure information storage system and used to help trace contacts.

“It’s a great and simple method to help health authorities and help keep yourself and your communities safe.

“The more people who download the app, the more effective it will be.’’

The COVIDSafe app is available for Apple and Android phones and can be downloaded from the Apple App and Google Play stores.

PHOTO CAPTION

For safety’s sake, Central West Health Executive Director of Medical Services Dr David Walker has the COVIDSafe phone app loaded and working. The app can help health authorities find close contacts of COVID-19 cases.

ENDS

For further information contact:

James Guthrie
Principal Media Officer, Rural and Remote Qld
Media and Communication
Department of Health
(07) 3708 5379

Jim.Guthrie@health.qld.gov.au

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Last updated: 6 July 2020