The COVID Tracker was released on July 7 and has been branded the ‘most successful’ contact tracing app in the world.
The app works by sharing random ID codes when two people with the app are in close contact for more than 15 minutes.
If either person tests positive for the virus, the app shares the random IDs with the HSE to notify the other that they are now considered a close contact. The user must give the app permission to share the data with the HSE by entering a one time password.
This then anonymously alerted people that they had been in close contact with.
From Monday, July 27, to Thursday, July 30, Extra.ie recorded how many people had ‘checked in’ or logged their symptoms with the COVID-19 Tracker app by 10:45pm each evening.
Every day, users are presented with a question asking them how they are feeling. They can either tell the app that they are feeling fine or they can register symptoms.
We found that, out of 1.4 million users, an average of 272,830 people were checking into the app daily. This ranged from 250,491 people to 285,313.
The HSE confirmed to Extra.ie that while checking in on the COVID Tracker app is helpful, it does not affect the app’s effectiveness.
‘The use of the symptom tracker is optional and does not affect the contact tracing function,’ a HSE spokesperson explained.
‘For people to benefit from the contact tracing function of the app all they need to do is download and install the app.
‘The app Check-In function allows users to record any symptoms that they have each day and will prompt them to contact their GP if they have symptoms that may be COVID-19.
‘The Check-In function can help an app user to track the onset of COVID-19 symptoms, which is important from a contact tracing perspective to calculate when a person began to feel unwell and to identify their close contacts.’
The Department of Health recently confirmed that the HSE’s app with now link with Northern Ireland’s contact tracing app to inform people if they have been in contact with a confirmed case.
Using the app will:
– Give us a better picture of the spread of the virus
– Help carry out contact tracing
– Link you to excellent HSE health advice if you need it
– Keep you updated with notifications you can trust
How the Covid Tracker app helps us:
– Daily health check-in
– The Covid Tracker app allows you to check-in every day, to let us know if you have any cold, flu or coronavirus symptoms, or if you’re feeling well.
This will help us map the spread of the virus in Ireland. Understanding how the virus is affecting the country will help us to manage and respond to this pandemic.
The app uses your phone’s technology to make a record of when you are close to other app users. If an app user tests positive for COVID-19, the HSE can ask them for the records on the app. This will help us to contact other people who might have been affected, and give them the advice and help they need.
Your data and privacy
The COVID Tracker app will not:
– Publicly identify anyone with COVID-19
– Make personal data available to the HSE without your direct consent
– Use your data for any reason other than contact tracing and
– Anonymously reporting illness levels
In conclusion, it is yet to be known how effective the app will be outside Ireland; though some quarters believe it will be as effective depending on the number of persons using it in the locality.
DO NOT HESITATE TO DOWNLOAD IT FROM YOUR GOOGLE PLAY STORE (here) OR APPLE STORE TO GIVE IT A TRY